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Cmacaulay

"Defender" is a misnomer

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I've had decent results with this list (against Rebels anyway):

 

Jonus - Swarm tactic + Seismic

 

Gamma - Assualt Missile + Seismic

 

Delta + HLC

 

Academy Tie

 

This list is tricky as target priority is hard. You want to take Jonus out so he can't buff the HLC, but you want to take the HLC Defender out. The Defender can save his focus for defense usually with Jonus's re-rolls. Then you got to worry about the Gamma with an AM and both Siemic charges. Throw in an Academy Tie to block and be a nusance. Wouldn't be good against a Phantombuild, but its decent against any list that needs to stay in formation.

 

Thinking of trying this list out too:

 

Vessery - Outmaneuver

 

Gamma - FT, FT, MF

 

Gamma - IPM, FT

 

BSP - TC

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I don't have any experience running a Shuttle, but it feels to me like Defender support needs to be a nasty as possible in it's own right.  Defenders are tough and powerful, but expensive.  Expensive enough that they need to stand on their own.  I feel like any unit that is primarily for support will just make the Defender a bigger target.  You've got to take stuff that punishes opponents from going after the Defender.  I feel like a Shuttle, with it's movement restrictions, and Fleet Officer, with it's range restrictions, might force you too much to fly a Defender in suboptimal ways to stay close.  Maybe Engine Upgrade makes up for that, I don't know.  I'd almost rather put the Fleet Officer on a stock Bounty Hunter.  It's more expensive, but it's contributing in ways the Shuttle isn't, and it benefits from being up in the thick of things.  The downside is you're not boosting you're own attacks, but if the Defender goes down, it's a pretty powerful end-game ship in it's own right.  

 

Rexler + Predator (40)

Bounty Hunter + Fleet Officer (36)

2 Academy Pilots (24)

Vorpal Sword and Red Castle like this

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Another way to look at it, which combo do you think will be the more reliable?

 

Rexler + Predaor

Shuttle + Field Officer + Engine Upgrade ( we'll switch it for Advanced Sensor here if you're like me and would prefer it to help against clearing the Red by using Field Officer before doing a Green, deny the potential block to prevent you from taking actions)

 

or 

 

Vessery + Veteran Instinct + Engine Upgrade (or for a 1-2 point difference, just take Vessery + HLC)

Shuttle + ST-321 title + Weapon Engineer

Tough call. I really like Vessery, but Brath + Predator is a lot more appealing against low-hull targets (where a single face-up damage card stands a good chance of crippling or killing them).

 

Then it's up to player taste.

 

For my part, I prefer the Vessery build. You don't need to fly 'close' (to be fair, range 2 from a Shuttle still gives lassitude) to each other and are not action dependent; You tag 2 target first round then only need to do it again once they are destroyed or a better one show up. Since the Action doesn't give you a stress token and can be used at any range, it should not be that hard to target 2 new ships. Being that you always have a TL with Vessery, you can flank more easily with Engine Upgrade or Barrel Roll, or just keep your Focus for defense and still make a very good attack, or do a F+TL attack.

 

Brath ability can be very nasty indeed: when it does trigger, your opponent face suddenly become very pale. But I think that in the long run, and not knowing upfront what you'll be up against, Vessery's build should be more reliable. More room to maneuver, good offensive boost that works everytime you attack, Shuttle is less bound by action and green maneuver, almost no ties between the ship. Granted that both build don't leaves you with a lot of other support so not sure if I would play it, I prefer the Vessery build out of the 2.

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Here's a strange thing: Rexler Brath can crit with an Ion Cannon. Against a low AGI ship, you might not need your Focus to hit anyway. You just do your 1 damage, put down your ion token, and if you hit hull, spend Focus to flip the card.

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So, first thing that can go wrong is that the Defender will go down to concentrated fire. Of course It might not, but there is the possibility that should not be discounted.

That's a decent objection to the Fleet Officer strategy except that Brath with double focus is actually a pretty effective turtle, and the rest of the list (including a shuttle, albeit with unmodified attacks) is going to be coming up behind you while you try to dig through those 6 hit points on 3 Agility. That's a pretty effective tactical fork.

 

Which is exactly what I was getting at. But I'll concede that Red has a point. But really at that point it would come down to individual asteroid placement and how both teams played their approach.

 

As for fleet officer giving stress, I think I'd try to find a way to work advanced sensors into the mix. Then you can use it, then clear your stress, and also at this point it actually behoves you to collide with your own ships if you want to inch your shuttle forward. I've found great success lately in making the shuttle arrive late to the battle, once enemy squads have already broken up a bit and some can't effectively wheel around to focus on it. Then you can just really slow play it and be a huge pain in the butt. I do have to apologize, while talking about your build I've kinda been neglecting the fact that you'd kit out your shuttle differently than I usually do, so there are certain tactical assumptions which may be incorrect. But you mentioned not considering some TIEs to be a threat, so it may work better if you put in some really threatening TIEs. Middle PS named pilots with aggressive abilities can generally draw fire. And if not? If the opponent commits everything to destroying Rexler and ends up being killed by the rest of the squad, did he not technically serve a useful tactical purpose?  :D

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So, first thing that can go wrong is that the Defender will go down to concentrated fire. Of course It might not, but there is the possibility that should not be discounted.

That's a decent objection to the Fleet Officer strategy except that Brath with double focus is actually a pretty effective turtle, and the rest of the list (including a shuttle, albeit with unmodified attacks) is going to be coming up behind you while you try to dig through those 6 hit points on 3 Agility. That's a pretty effective tactical fork.

 

But in the approach suggested, Starting the opposite of the Shuttle, you won't have double focus to turtle up; you are on your own against the Alpha. Yes, 6 hit point with 3 agility can be hard to get through, but it can also go down pretty fast. It just look like too much of a gamble to me to think that I can reliably win with this team. If all things goes well, of course it is deadly, but things can also go south pretty fast, and when it does, there is not much left to help you. Unlike other teams, I feel like this one bet on surviving the initial strike instead of making an effective one. Might be just me and my playstyle though.

 

Well, remember also that most Alpha strikes are from low PS ships. They tend to move slowly on their opening turn in order to maximize the chance that they can hop in next round and get their TLs. If you move 5 forward out of the gate and they weren't prepared for it then that's a whole turn that their reaction is off by. Oftentimes in my experience, this has proven to be fatal. In fact, the turn 2 disarray that scrambling to accommodate such positioning can create is often readily capitalized on by the rest of the squad.

 

Now, I'll admit that there are some squads that can still make an alpha even at low PS. Deadeye missile toters, and Airen Cracken builds can get something off. But most of the time those shots don't have a great success rate: for instance, a Deadeyer who had to lose their only attack modifier token in order to fire, or a single pilot who got an action from Cracken. That's not so much a devastating alpha as a pathetic toot.

 

Now I'll say I can see how playing this squad effectively can be tricky, but my bet is that it can be done and to devastating effect.

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Another way to look at it, which combo do you think will be the more reliable?

 

Rexler + Predaor

Shuttle + Field Officer + Engine Upgrade ( we'll switch it for Advanced Sensor here if you're like me and would prefer it to help against clearing the Red by using Field Officer before doing a Green, deny the potential block to prevent you from taking actions)

 

or 

 

Vessery + Veteran Instinct + Engine Upgrade (or for a 1-2 point difference, just take Vessery + HLC)

Shuttle + ST-321 title + Weapon Engineer

Tough call. I really like Vessery, but Brath + Predator is a lot more appealing against low-hull targets (where a single face-up damage card stands a good chance of crippling or killing them).

 

ditto.

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Here's a strange thing: Rexler Brath can crit with an Ion Cannon. Against a low AGI ship, you might not need your Focus to hit anyway. You just do your 1 damage, put down your ion token, and if you hit hull, spend Focus to flip the card.

I did that once against a PtL'd Soontir. Guess what the crit was? Stress token. I served up a double stressed, Ioned Fel.

 

It was beautiful. I have a 3D picture of it on my 3DS.

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When it all comes down to it, I feel like Vessery and Brath are sort of opposite entities. One has very useful PS, and an ability that in my experience comes into play very seldom. However when it does, it's just devastating. Some examples:

 

-Kath Scarlet loses her shields in the previous round. Then a Range 3 Brath uses Predator to secure 4 hits with HLC. The resulting flips reveal 3 "Direct Hit!" cards and one Blinded Pilot. (that's 7 damage)

-A range 3 shot against the back half of the Tantive completely drains all energy from the ship, preventing it from Recovering. It's destroyed (or rather, crippled) early next turn by Soontir Fel.

-Chewbacca, almighty crit-shrugging king, takes an Outmaneuvered range 1 shot that stresses and blinds him, damages his engine, and renders his elite pilot talent (expert handling) and pilot ability useless. Winged Gundark capitalizes on it to come in for the kill (after decidedly not being killed by Chewbacca, since he was Blinded).

 

I've played over 20 matches with Brath, and these are the three most memorable times his ability has come into play. It worked twice more, one mentioned above and one that didn't really matter. That's it. So seldom, but oh so game-changing.

 

Compare that to Vessery, whose ability is remarkably consistent and useful, but lacks the amount of Flash that Brath brings. Really my only complaint is that Vessery pretty much requires that the squad be built with him in mind, but Brath can go lone wolf and you can fly whatever else you want, should you so desire.

Chumbalaya likes this

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Well, remember also that most Alpha strikes are from low PS ships. They tend to move slowly on their opening turn in order to maximize the chance that they can hop in next round and get their TLs. If you move 5 forward out of the gate and they weren't prepared for it then that's a whole turn that their reaction is off by. Oftentimes in my experience, this has proven to be fatal. In fact, the turn 2 disarray that scrambling to accommodate such positioning can create is often readily capitalized on by the rest of the squad.

I'll be honest here, I thought Alpha strike was the term for the first strike, not just a missile strike. Like a Tie swarm attacking one target with all their might and rerolls.

 

As for fleet officer giving stress, I think I'd try to find a way to work advanced sensors into the mix. Then you can use it, then clear your stress, and also at this point it actually behoves you to collide with your own ships if you want to inch your shuttle forward.

Yup, exactly how I would play it also, see my post where I compare a combo of Rexler and Shuttle and Vessery and Shuttle.

 

Now I'll say I can see how playing this squad effectively can be tricky, but my bet is that it can be done and to devastating effect.

Can't disagree with you here. It can be effective, I just don't think it is optimal. If I was to face it, I would consider that as long as I maneuver decently and the dice don't fail me, I should be able to go out with the victory.

 

...

 

In other news, I just played a game tonight:

 

Rexler Brath with Predator

Delta Squadron Pilot x2

 

vs

 

Bandit Squadron Pilot x4

Blue Squadron Pilot

Outer Rim Smuggler with Recon Specialist

 

The Defenders raped the opposition. Rexler ability came into play just once, but man was it nasty. Smuggler was left with 6 Hull. I got 3 hit, he got 0 evade. Flipped the damage cards: Minor explosion(rolled a hit), Direct Hit, Direct Hit. I felt bad for my opponent. Predator was in heaven with only PS1 and 2 ship for opposition, although every time I used it, I almost always rolled blank... Overall though, dice was for my side. Ended up with Rexler and a Delta with 1 shield left. The 4 K-turn was nasty! I think I did it 3 turn in a row with a Delta once. 

 

I love this ship!

Hobojebus likes this

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As for fleet officer giving stress, I think I'd try to find a way to work advanced sensors into the mix. Then you can use it, then clear your stress, and also at this point it actually behoves you to collide with your own ships if you want to inch your shuttle forward.

Yup, exactly how I would play it also, see my post where I compare a combo of Rexler and Shuttle and Vessery and Shuttle.

 

 

Yes, I saw that after I posted. I was on the previous page still, and wanted to say all I had to say before reading another page (which usually makes me forget the points I want to make).

 

And yes, I too love this ship. I've played upwards of 20 games with Defenders, and lost 2.

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But just wandering in and calling people stupid is noise, and frankly we have enough of that around here. Don't be noise.(*Probably.)

Do not put words in my mouth. I never called anyone stupid.

 

 

From Merriam-Webster:

 

1Stupid: not intelligent : having or showing a lack of ability to learn and understand things.

 

So yes, saying someone is not smart is the same as calling them stupid.

I never said anyone is or was 'not smart'.

What little credibility Expat had faded away with this statement. It is a logically fallacy to declare that saying something is smart is saying the same as the other options are not smart. Therefore everyone is stupid?

It just seems smart to me to choose to not play the Defender in a competitive list.

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