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If there was one thing I'd suggest to the guys it would be that someone starts to take squadrons a bit more seriously. Same in the battle reports, it would be good to have more squadron action featured. It is such a big dimension to the game, and some analysis of the Wave 1 fighter state of play would be great before Wave 2 arrives and changes it all again.

 

 

I wonder if this is a 300 point thing where you are playing to maximise your ships and what they can do?

I find it very hard to give up a ship for just 3-5 fighters.

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I just want to hear more Star Wars names pronounced in Spanish.

Also, whatever language Dan-o speaks. Stah Worrs Fahrin' Ahhks.

1. Listen to the voice acting of Talon Jarred in the first book of the Thrawn Trilogy audio book.

2. You can fiyah outta any two ahhks in the fiyahRing phase.

Not the pronunciation of the aahhh in fiyahRing.

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I just want to hear more Star Wars names pronounced in Spanish.

Also, whatever language Dan-o speaks. Stah Worrs Fahrin' Ahhks.

1. Listen to the voice acting of Talon Jarred in the first book of the Thrawn Trilogy audio book.

2. You can fiyah outta any two ahhks in the fiyahRing phase.

Not the pronunciation of the aahhh in fiyahRing.

I really hate autocorrect. ..it's s'posta say TALON KARRDE.

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If there was one thing I'd suggest to the guys it would be that someone starts to take squadrons a bit more seriously. Same in the battle reports, it would be good to have more squadron action featured. It is such a big dimension to the game, and some analysis of the Wave 1 fighter state of play would be great before Wave 2 arrives and changes it all again.

 

 

I wonder if this is a 300 point thing where you are playing to maximise your ships and what they can do?

I find it very hard to give up a ship for just 3-5 fighters.

 

 

Yes!

Or at least that's how I consistently feel.

Forced myself into about 75 or so worth of squadrons over the weekend and it was far less impactful than the assault frigate I could have purchased instead.

 

To add to that comment:

It's not that 75 points worth of squadrons can't earn back 75 points "worth" (whatever that is) of kills or damage. An Assault Frigate engages targets from red range and threatens/defends objective points. The same could be said for 55 points worth compared to a Nebulon, or 40 points worth with a CR90. The range that squadrons find their way into a list for me is the 16-point Tycho range. Then, I'm losing a few upgrades - which often still feels rough - but gaining the benefit of drastically reducing the effectiveness of the other player's devious squadron plan.

Edited by DrunkTarkin

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If there was one thing I'd suggest to the guys it would be that someone starts to take squadrons a bit more seriously. Same in the battle reports, it would be good to have more squadron action featured. It is such a big dimension to the game, and some analysis of the Wave 1 fighter state of play would be great before Wave 2 arrives and changes it all again.

 

I wonder if this is a 300 point thing where you are playing to maximise your ships and what they can do?

I find it very hard to give up a ship for just 3-5 fighters.

 

Yes!

Or at least that's how I consistently feel.

Forced myself into about 75 or so worth of squadrons over the weekend and it was far less impactful than the assault frigate I could have purchased instead.

 

To add to that comment:

It's not that 75 points worth of squadrons can't earn back 75 points "worth" (whatever that is) of kills or damage. An Assault Frigate engages targets from red range and threatens/defends objective points. The same could be said for 55 points worth compared to a Nebulon, or 40 points worth with a CR90. The range that squadrons find their way into a list for me is the 16-point Tycho range. Then, I'm losing a few upgrades - which often still feels rough - but gaining the benefit of drastically reducing the effectiveness of the other player's devious squadron plan.

For Rebels I find justifying squadrons hard, and to a degree the same can be said for Imperials. Imperials have Rhymer though. That means they ask as a dozen 1 dice CR90 B's that have 360° movement.

I do play squadrons but usually only a few A-Wings to disrupt their play

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If there was one thing I'd suggest to the guys it would be that someone starts to take squadrons a bit more seriously. Same in the battle reports, it would be good to have more squadron action featured. It is such a big dimension to the game, and some analysis of the Wave 1 fighter state of play would be great before Wave 2 arrives and changes it all again.

I wonder if this is a 300 point thing where you are playing to maximise your ships and what they can do?

I find it very hard to give up a ship for just 3-5 fighters.

Yes!

Or at least that's how I consistently feel.

Forced myself into about 75 or so worth of squadrons over the weekend and it was far less impactful than the assault frigate I could have purchased instead.

To add to that comment:

It's not that 75 points worth of squadrons can't earn back 75 points "worth" (whatever that is) of kills or damage. An Assault Frigate engages targets from red range and threatens/defends objective points. The same could be said for 55 points worth compared to a Nebulon, or 40 points worth with a CR90. The range that squadrons find their way into a list for me is the 16-point Tycho range. Then, I'm losing a few upgrades - which often still feels rough - but gaining the benefit of drastically reducing the effectiveness of the other player's devious squadron plan.

For Rebels I find justifying squadrons hard, and to a degree the same can be said for Imperials. Imperials have Rhymer though. That means they ask as a dozen 1 dice CR90 B's that have 360° movement.

I do play squadrons but usually only a few A-Wings to disrupt their play

So, are fighters broken? Do you think anything but a-wings will ever come back into valuable use?

Edited by lpfankabe

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Oh I love squadrons but currently I feel like they are incomplete. They can do devastating things but do they justify the cost of another ship which could mean the difference of me getting tabled? That is the important question.

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When FFG limited squadrons to one third your list, I assumed they were high value. I don't/haven't realized that value in my games. I like the idea of squadrons. I like the idea of a mini game within a game. But as discussed at multiple times, the absence of a ship in the initiative order is felt and the tourney rule about getting full points against a list having only to destroy an opponents ships. They feel like a liability in that sense. I'm split in my love/hate of both list types.

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Rebel Squadrons are just too random, one game they can come up hits every time you pick up a dice and other times you'll just see accuracy and blanks. So when you start to formulate the idea of worth you look at the idea of replacing a ship with several squadrons and you don't think of those game where the fighters did ok, you remember when the blind old men couldn't his the backside of a Star Destroyer with 1 hull remaining.

 

In some regards this could be working as intended because some of the Rebel ships has 2 blue anti-squadron dice.

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I think I can apply the law of diminishing returns to all ships like Steve did towards gladiators. So yes, I'd rather have 3 Nebs 2 CRs and some upgrades rather than 3 and 3 naked.

4 VSDs though ...

Edited by DrunkTarkin

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I don't think you can apply diminished returns to space whales though. 4 space whale is a devastating fleet. The reason is because they have speed, they have range, and they can tank.

I just played a 400 point game with 2 whales and a Nebulon-B. Oh my 100 points of squadrons killed a Victory Star Destroyer but then his Demolisher side arced one whale killing it and then it moved and side arced my Yavaris killing it as well. . . 1 activation, 2 kills. . .

After that my X-Wings and B-Wings were wasted, the Gladiator I was trying to kill got away and I lost Luke and a B-Wing by the end of the game (out of the 2 B-Wings and 2 X-Wings I had in that small conflict) my other squadrons were an A-Wing and Tycho, oh and 2 X-Wings which took out his 2 interceptors Howlrunner, and TIE Fighter. (that group only had an X-Wing left).

Yea, I would have preferred the 2 Nebulon-B's or the extra Whale in that game instead of the 100+ points of fighters.

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My list:

+++ Rebel Sqd Heavy (395pts) +++

+ Assault Frigate MkII (212pts) +

Assault Frigate Mark IIA (111pts) [Enhanced Armament (10pts), •General Dodonna (20pts)]

Assault Frigate Mark IIB (101pts) [Expanded Hangar Bay (5pts), Flight Controllers (6pts), •Adar Tallon (10pts), •Gallant Haven (8pts)]

+ Nebulon-B Frigate (69pts) +

Nebulon-B Escort Frigate (69pts) [•Raymus Antilles (7pts), •Yavaris (5pts)]

+ Squadrons (114pts) +

A-Wing Squadron (11pts)

B-Wing Squadron (14pts)

B-Wing Squadron (14pts)

X-Wing Squadron (13pts)

X-Wing Squadron (13pts)

X-Wing Squadron (13pts)

•Luke Skywalker (20pts)

•Tycho Celchu (16pts)

His list:

+++ Imperial Sqd light 400 (400pts) +++

+ Gladiator Star Destroyer (158pts) +

Gladiator I-Class Star Destroyer (84pts) [Assault Concussion Missiles (7pts), Engine Techs (8pts), Weapons Liaison (3pts), •Demolisher (10pts)]

Gladiator I-Class Star Destroyer (74pts) [Assault Concussion Missiles (7pts), Engine Techs (8pts), Weapons Liaison (3pts)]

+ Victory Star Destroyer (196pts) +

Victory II-Class Star Destroyer (111pts) [•Admiral Screed (26pts)]

Victory II-Class Star Destroyer (85pts)

+ Squadrons (46pts) +

TIE Fighter Squadron (8pts)

TIE Interceptor Squadron (11pts)

TIE Interceptor Squadron (11pts)

•"Howlrunner" (16pts)

After that beating I took. . . How can I justify large amounts of squadrons?

Edited by Lyraeus

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I think I can apply the law of diminishing returns to all ships like Steve did towards gladiators. So yes, I'd rather have 3 Nebs 2 CRs and some upgrades rather than 3 and 3 naked.

4 VSDs though ...

 

Really? Because that is counter point to the idea that you would rather have more ships.

 

Consider that I have a wedge coming out of the front arc of a ship. The area under the short range portion will be say “X”, the area at medium range would be about “2X” and the long range area may be about “3-4X”.

 

I think with its short range weapons the GSD is the exception rather than the rule. Even the Corvette swarm will have “2X” room to move. Hence I think this is a range issue, even blue has more area to play into, and therefore this effect of being crowded out changes as your weapons ranges change.

 

 

silly2.jpg

 

I will add this as an attempt to show what I mean. Maybe you get 2-3 GSDs attacking the same shield of a target ship, where as I may get 5 or more Nebulon or Corvettes at red range.

 

 

Redirect tokens will also factor in, for, if you hit the VSD hard enough and drop the shields down to zero then you add another “2X” area in which the Corvettes don’t mind shooting from as any hit will be hull.

 

Also the relative speed of the two ships, the GSD moves in and away, a corvette may get two turns and a ram before moving away.

Edited by Amanal

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My list:

+++ Rebel Sqd Heavy (395pts) +++

+ Assault Frigate MkII (212pts) +

Assault Frigate Mark IIA (111pts) [Enhanced Armament (10pts), •General Dodonna (20pts)]

Assault Frigate Mark IIB (101pts) [Expanded Hangar Bay (5pts), Flight Controllers (6pts), •Adar Tallon (10pts), •Gallant Haven (8pts)]

+ Nebulon-B Frigate (69pts) +

Nebulon-B Escort Frigate (69pts) [•Raymus Antilles (7pts), •Yavaris (5pts)]

+ Squadrons (114pts) +

A-Wing Squadron (11pts)

B-Wing Squadron (14pts)

B-Wing Squadron (14pts)

X-Wing Squadron (13pts)

X-Wing Squadron (13pts)

X-Wing Squadron (13pts)

•Luke Skywalker (20pts)

•Tycho Celchu (16pts)

His list:

+++ Imperial Sqd light 400 (400pts) +++

+ Gladiator Star Destroyer (158pts) +

Gladiator I-Class Star Destroyer (84pts) [Assault Concussion Missiles (7pts), Engine Techs (8pts), Weapons Liaison (3pts), •Demolisher (10pts)]

Gladiator I-Class Star Destroyer (74pts) [Assault Concussion Missiles (7pts), Engine Techs (8pts), Weapons Liaison (3pts)]

+ Victory Star Destroyer (196pts) +

Victory II-Class Star Destroyer (111pts) [•Admiral Screed (26pts)]

Victory II-Class Star Destroyer (85pts)

+ Squadrons (46pts) +

TIE Fighter Squadron (8pts)

TIE Interceptor Squadron (11pts)

TIE Interceptor Squadron (11pts)

•"Howlrunner" (16pts)

After that beating I took. . . How can I justify large amounts of squadrons?



Ouch. Those dual-glad builds with ACMs + ETs are sick, so I feel your pain. Never seen a four ship build with two Vic IIs (they're usually hard enough with Vic Is), but I imagine that boosts their value as area deniers considerably.

I try to have at least 4 rebel ships when I play 400 point lists, even in my squadron-heavy builds, for more tactical flexibility, activations, hull value, etc. Personally, I would lean towards something like this, which preserves the 2 space whale/Yavaris flavor of the build (one space whale downgraded to B, to save cost) and most of the upgrades, while adding a CR-90, leaving a four-point bid. About 30 points fewer in squadrons (drops 2 x-wings), but still has Tycho and A-wing for an aggressive screen, the 2 B-wings to protect the Yavaris's flank, and 2 X-wings to escort your A/B-wings, with Luke for opportunistic ship targeting as-needed. Not sure you need Adar in this build, although with a smaller squadron force perhaps it's more valuable to be able to activate one of your remaining squadrons twice.

 

The most notable drop is the Gallant Haven. I've moved away from it because I prefer my assault frigate to be more mobile instead of being tied to one place. Although it's a nice ability (really takes the edge off counters and vanilla TIE fighter-heavy builds), it also lends itself to fleet clumping--squadrons need to be within distance 1 of the GH, meaning the second carrier ship usually must be nearby to activate them, which means the opponent knows where at least 2/3 of the fleet plus the majority of squadrons will be, and must move to, at all times (especially if there are B-wings walking in at squadron speed 2). With all that telegraphing, there's not much guess-work for a Glad or two planning a flanking maneuver. There are also tactical and maneuvering limitations that have to be worked out. The ability is defense-first oriented (meaning it won't help if your large fighter force is being used for what it's best at--alpha-striking). The squadrons also need to be crammed into a distance 1 radius, but you also need to leave room for a medium base so the fighters aren't sent to the rear. If the GH moves quickly to avoid this problem, slower B-wings are left behind. If the GH stays behind with the B-wings, the fighters engaged in combat out-front are out of range.

 

Losing the two X-wings hurts anti-squadron capabilities somewhat, but a mix of A-wing skirmishers if you make the jump first (or Yavaris double-attacks from the X-wings, if the opponent jumps first, since Yavaris also encourages a defensive posture for your fighters) can mitigate that. Alternatively, you could also swap-out Luke for Wedge and save a point if anti-fighter capability is more valuable than Luke's anti-ship ability. Having the extra ship (even if it's a Corvette) helps on multiple fronts (another activation; you can deploy it first to get a better sense of where your opponent is going, yet still maneuver it back into an advantageous position; another flanking threat; broadens the list of potential objectives you can handle as first player; etc.). Worst-case scenario, it's another autonomous piece that your opponent must account for, and it runs away so you aren't tabled. Best-case scenario, it performs an opportunistic flank, gets the finishing shot (ram?) into an opponent's ship, draws bombers off a more valuable target, acts as the expendable bait in a trap you set, gives you one more ship than your opponent to set up first-last turn activations with a stronger ship in your fleet if you are the first player, etc. In most cases, I think those advantages are worth giving up 2 x-wings. Against focused anti-squadron builds (TIE fighter/interceptor swarm, imperial aces, Howlrunner + flight controllers, etc.), two vanilla X-wings maybe keep some of your opponent's fighters engaged for three turns instead of two. Against builds that aren't anti-squadron focused, the 2 extra x-wings should be superfluous.

 

My Rebel squadron-focused builds tend to have somewhere between 6-10 squadrons (depending on the number of named heroes), and usually come in somewhere between 70-100 points. Anything more than that (points or total number), and I tend to run out of activations (or need to plan squadron commands every turn with all my ships, which limits flexibility), run over extra squadrons that weren't activated, or have stragglers lagging behind my ships. 6-10 gives me enough so that a single ship can (if tactically necessary/advantageous) activate them all, sending them in 2-3 waves (typically A-wing skirmishers first to soften things up, then X-wings to save whatever A-wings survived and dish out more hurt, with bombers kept in reserve to run point on the carrier). This leaves my other three ships free to lend extra activations as needed, or to ignore the distance limits required for squadron commands to roam more freely on offense (focus-firing, flanking, countering flankers, etc). The single activation requires more careful planning (little margin for error) and timing (activating first helps), but it's usually enough to stand up against all but the most dedicated anti-squadron builds (and even then, should tie up the enemy for at least one or two valuable turns).

 

There are lots of Rebel variations that can support 70+ points in squadrons and 4+ ships with some upgrades (the two links being two of the more expensive examples), so I try to stick with those wherever possible. Not so for the empire--at least if you want carrier ships--but that's a different story...

 

Just my two cents.

 

 

Edit:

And forgot to mention, on the OP topic, these podcasts are amazing. Enjoyable to listen to, great information, and a relatively diverse set of opinions and strategies (though everyone seems to have come around on the space whales...). Cannot wait for your Wave 2 preview (when we finally get decent spoilers).

 

Edit 2:

Fixed numerous spelling and grammar errors. It's obviously too late for this...

Edited by Rythbryt

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A few thoughts on squadrons after listening to the IFF podcasts and seeing them tilt away from them, and what is going on with the meta and the aversion to them in many areas:

 

Objectives

 

Red: Opening Salvo and the post-errata Most Wanted both benefit a "more ships" build, Advanced Gunnery is essentially irrelevant to ship/squadron balance, and Precision Strike is good for ships and bombers. Thus, as a net total, none of the objectives advantage non-bomber squadrons, one advantages bomber squadrons, and three advantage ships.

 

Blue: Dangerous Territory, Intel Sweep, and Minefields are all setup-dependent, but in general don't advantage squadrons or ships (Dangerous Territory might be very good as second player for a "more ships" build). Intel Sweep advantages both "more ships" and "more squadrons", assuming the squadrons and ships have enough mobility to get rear shots off.

 

Yellow: Fleet Ambush and Fire Lanes both favor "more ships", Hyperspace Assault probably favors at least a few squadrons if you want to deploy via hyperspace, and Contested Outpost is difficult to evaluate: the command value condition clearly favors ships, but the likely fixed location of ships makes it easier to deal with the number one issue with squadrons of being where the ships are, so I'm going to charitably say this is a push for squadrons.

 

So what does this tell us? There is no objective that outright favors a "more squadrons" build, and many that favor a "more ships" build. Thus, from an objective standpoint, if you are going to play a "more squadrons" build, it means you will either be often facing objectives unfavorable to you (and have to pick very carefully from your opponents' objectives) or you are going to need to have a strong initiative bid so you can always choose second player and force an opponent to pick from your objectives.

 

Victory Points

 

Dead men tell no tales, but they do give victory points. By which I mean this: if you field fragile squadrons, and they die, you are giving up VPs. From an effort vs. scoring perspective, often squadrons are the easiest way to score cheap points, and a valid engagement strategy for some rebel fleets with some objectives is basically to refuse to engage while stripping away enemy squadrons. This is harder for Imperials given their lower mobility.

 

Partially damaged ships often give no VPs, also, so what it means is that a pair (or trio) of VSDs with no squadrons may actually be a more difficult list to win against than a pair of VSDs with a few squadrons. In the former case, excluding objective points, to score VPs you have to kill a VSD. In the latter case, you could kill some squadrons and just run from the VSDs and win.

 

Therefore, adding squadrons, especially fragile squadrons, means you are providing your opponent with potential low-hanging fruit from a VP perspective and thus their benefit needs to outweigh this detriment.

 

Coordination

 

Squadrons without squadron commands (barring perhaps Tie Interceptors and A-Wings) are bad. They can move, and then not shoot, or shoot, and then not move. This is, as most people intuitively realize after a game or two, kind of crap when the other guy can just fly ships away from them. Also, taking squadrons purely for the purpose of slamming them into other squadrons in a giant ball is unnecessary unless those squadrons can truly threaten ships, which requires carriers and often bombers or some other kind of upgrade.

 

Thus, taking squadrons limits the options that one has on the board to act with all elements (or in math speak, you have less degrees of freedom to pursue a non-sub-optimal path). Ships can operate independently. Squadrons often cannot operate at all in a meaningful manner when isolated.

 

Similarly, bombers are good against ships with support from ships activating them, but terrible against most fighters/interceptors. The latter are good against squadrons in general but not good against ships. So if you take bombers to fight ships, you need escorts to protect the bombers, but if you take escorts and the other guy didn't take squadrons, you have wasted points and should have gone all bombers; if they go heavy escorts, you won't have enough. Either way, there is an iterative guessing game here to come up with an optimal balance that must be carefully considered or, in the case of rebels, ignored by going with some of the aces and combo ships that can do both (which are expensive, another dimension to consider).

 

Conclusion

 

I don't think these drawbacks are necessarily insurmountable, but it does imply that squadrons either need to be tailored to a narrow purpose or subject to entire fleet coordination with both ships and objectives.

 

To this end, I have currently seen only three particularly effective uses of squadrons so far (and even then, coordination with the rest of list and objectives are crucial in every case but item 1):

  1. Tycho or Soontir Fel on their own or with minimal A-Wing / Tie Interceptor support (or just a Soontir/Vader combo and nothing else). They have counter, so they can move and just stick people in place, then punch if anyone shoots them. They have scatter, so you cannot kill them purely with pot-shots or typical anti-squadron fire. They are fast. They are cheap. If you just want one or two squadrons to fill points and troll people who brought squadrons (especially bombers), these guys are great filler, as they avoid most of the typical squadron problems outlined above.
  2. The Rhymer ball. This greatly reduces the positional difficulties of squadrons by allowing firing at range 2, and it avoids the fighter/bomber disparity by allowing one to take Rhymer and then all fighters that can spam blue dice against ships at range 2, and it can be easily commanded by VSDs with minimal upgrades.
  3. The Rebel Yavaris death field (Yavaris + some form of activations + Keyan and other bombers). The core flaw of the Nebulon B is things getting close to it and/or touching it in the side. How do you prevent this? By using the super-slow B-wing ace who can eat ships whole in a single round with Yavaris. It's essentially a combo build where the Neb covers the worst flaws of the B-wing and the B-wing covers the worst flaws of the Neb. Again, this requires very careful co-ordination with the rest of the fleet, and still can have problems with a fleet that would be content to engage it at long range, but I have seen it work properly.

Thus, considering all of the above, I would expect a very squadron-light meta other than a few corner builds that focus on the extreme synergy internally between things like Rhymer + Expanded Hangar Bay + VSD to spam dice early in activations or Yavaris / AFII with Tallon / Keyan / Luke type crippling attacks that can simply overwhelm an enemy, especially if the rebel player goes first. Still, these lists will be more finicky and require a lot more internal co-ordination and thought than a squadron-light list, and thus, it doesn't surprise me we see few squadrons.

 

What does everyone else think?

Edited by Reinholt

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Excellent analysis.

It does seem to suggest that something (new objectives or upgrades) needs to be done to bring the rest of the fighters back into the game, especially for rebels. Something like:

• An upgrade increasing your squadron activation range to 5 (might encourage long-range bombing runs, more like the old Xwing/TIE Fighter games, where the bombers launched and ran 5 or 6 clicks to the target.)

• An upgrade that spams only squadron tokens, like a SquadronTarkin? Something to let each ship send at least one more fighter a turn?

• I can only think of objectives that might increase points for killing squadrons. Or maybe one that eliminates all AA dice? These might be objectives that simply end ship-only builds, which isn't really the goal.

I haven't investigated the rogues stuff yet, maybe that will open up more value in squadrons working together with them. As you point out, Rhymer alone makes squadrons worth it for Imps. Of course, the IFF guys poo-poo Rhymer now. :)

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...I haven't investigated the rogues stuff yet, maybe that will open up more value in squadrons working together with them...

 

I strongly suspect that squadrons with the Rogue keyword will have disproportionate value compared to ones without. It will be additionally interesting to see what the point costs for them are, but the ability to act as if you had a squadron command without actually requiring one means you don't have to build a fleet list / objectives / strategy around them for them to work at all.

 

Thus, they should be much more plug and play as, like the A-Wing / Tie Interceptor example, they can operate independently and thus be evaluated purely on their own merits, rather than in the context of "given that I have to build my fleet around this and eat up points elsewhere, is this worth it"?

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So, like I understand X-wing has gone, there will be all these obscure ships and no xwings. :\

 

Reinholt makes an excellent analysis, but in regard to Ipfankabe's point, X-wings do fit his description of "combo ships that can do both [fighter and bomber roles]".  Rebel ships can all multi-role to some degree, but the X-wing is probably the most versatile ships in terms of retaining the bomber keyword, and having a strong anti-squadron punch.  Relatively expensive yes, but that's the price of versatility.

 

I expect them to continue to have a strong presence once everyone's honeymoon period with the Wave 1 fighters is over.  :)

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