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DerRitter

[HoAC] Let's talk A-wings in the campaing

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Just a bit of background, My friends and I  have been playing the HoAC for sometime already we have tried many builds for X's, Y's, B's and HWK's. What we havent tried is the A-wing, as we belive that it would lack enought firepower to stay relevant with the other ships. I hope you can prove us wrong! 

 

In a tipical mission you are facing 2-3 foes for enemy friend, that means that we need the firepower to down at least one and a half tie fighter each turn to avoid being swarmed (and killed). So the awing:

 

- 2 red dice is not enought to one-shot a Tie Fighter (or even be consistenly deal at least 1 damage every turn to get enought XP (most enemies are have 3 agi).

 

- While it has great arc dodging potencial, it is dificult no negate shots when there are so many enemy ships on the board. So the fragile ship will be get shot, prolly many times.

 

- Due to turn limits /mission objectives each ship must do damage each turn win the scenario, so a turn when you dodge all arcs but didn't do any damage is a wasted turn.

 

Within those considerations: how can we equip an Awing to be interceptor/superiority fighter that it should be?

 

I guess that PTL and Prockets (+ Extra ammo) are almost mandatory (maybe other missiles if you have TL support). For the second EPT on most ships I would take Predator, but with only 2 reds i'm not convinced. Also relayng on procket get's you 2 kills, but you'll need more for the rest of the mission.

 

So has anyone fly one this babys on the campaing?

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The A-Wing is a mid to late-game switch. It's a bad choice before PS5 or 6, and doesn't become "good" until around PS7. The upside is the extra Elite slot, so you have to take advantage of it with combos.

 

You kinda have to really want to be an A-Wing. It lacks the ability to regen shields, and it lacks any real consistent hard hitting power. It requires patience and strategy, and will often required rounds where you're purely repositioning for another round. And you're really, really hard to kill if you decide that you're going to run away.

 

However, I played rounds with an A-Wing when we tested the game in Vassal where I was never even shot at, let alone hit. Toss in Jake Farrell's ability at PS7, and then PTL, you can be stacking Focus, Barrel Roll and Boost into a single turn, shedding your stress the following turn and doing it all over again. If you're still getting shot at, you planned poorly or the TIEs did something wacky.  If you can keep at range, you can be stacking autothrusters with an evade action, giving you 4 dice, a token, and a flipped blank. Leaving you at a minimum of 2 evades barring something terrible and improbable like a 4 focus result occurring, completely neutering TIE Fighters and Bombers, and averaging 3 evades, which negates TIE Interceptors and Defenders. If you have Jake and/or you can hold onto your Focus, you're looking at an average of 3.5 evades at Range 3, making you nearly impossible to hit, even by Phantoms or Bomber ordnance.

 

The contribution you can bring as a really good A-Wing pilot is to drag enemies off the group to chase you, but never be anywhere where they can actually shoot or hit you. You're almost always going to deploy on your own, away from your squadmates because you're so much faster than they are, and if somebody goofs and you bump, you're often the one who ends up hating life because of it.

 

As far as weapons fire on the offense, you're going to be arc dodging anyway. If you're not aiming for Jake Farrell at PS7, you're probably doing it wrong. Outmaneuver works really well with abilities like Predator and PTL, giving you opportunities to close from a good distance and reposition at Range 1, tossing 3 reds against 2 greens. If you're in their arc and the closest target, once again, you've done something wrong, so Outmaneuver will be pretty much an automatic in most situations when you are shooting.

 

As far as ordnance, you can take Assault Missiles. This won't really be a points-getter, since damaging 4 ships is the same as damaging 2. It's helpful for spreading a little bit of love on a new formation of Fighters, but that's about it. Homing Missiles would be useful against Cheaterceptors considering how often they pop Evade tokens. Ion Pulse is useful for missions with large ships. So the default for A-Wings will still be Prockets. With Predator and your Focus, you're looking at an average of 3.5 hits/crits. If you have Outmaneuver, you're then rolling 5 dice against 2 if you're A-Winging right.

 

Can't take Extra Munitions with an A-Wing, It uses a Torpedo slot, and you'd need a second munitions slot to take advantage of it anyway. Unless there's an FAQ to this card I'm not aware of. Nevermind.

 

But, all this aside, at the end of the day, the A-Wing will never be the "ideal" ship in HotAC. It's a fun ship for people wanting a challenge. If you want easy points, you play as a Y-Wing.

 

Edit:  After some more playtesting, I'm really starting to like Sabine over Jake, though you can't go wrong with either. The ability to re-orient before your maneuver is so clutch, opening up a lot of opportunities with K turns. I still wouldn't advocate switching to the A-Wing at PS5, because I think you need the Predator/Outmaneuver/PTL combo to be really effective.

Edited by VaeVictis

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Actually, Extra Munitions is ruled a Modification Slot according to the latest version of the rules, so that's there, giving more burst damage to the A-Wing. Best missile? I do think Prockets is the best choice, if the team needs you to vomit damage then you can do just that.

 

I'm not so sure Autothrusters is worth it over a Shield Upgrade - it's so rarely useful in a game without PWTs that I don't think I'd take it.

 

If you wanted to go a non-PTL build, then Sabine Wren's ability would be straight gold - and I think with a PTL build, Keyan Farlander's ability would be great, and completely disregard the need to Focus at all. Straight removing your stress in the Combat Phase opens up your entire dial the next turn, and you can remove the token regardless of how many eyeballs you roll.

 

And then there's Hera Syndulla's ability. With the greens on an A-Wing, it would completely change your game to absolutely outmaneuver the TIEs.

 

I think my good A-Wing build would look something like:

 

PS*: Push the Limit

PS3: Predator

PS5: Outmaneuver

PS7: Hera

PS9: Wedge

 

Dropping two Agility from most targets would get pretty lethal, especially against late game Cheaterceptors.

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I choose Jake because it adds Barrel Roll to the A-Wing's repertoire, and it's a 2 for 1 Action ability not tied to automatic stress tokens (since you're going to be PTLing for stress tokens most of the time already). Barrel Roll seems like it would come into play with an A-Wing more than the ability to swap Greens (since swapping K3 and K5 shouldn't happen often enough to be anything other than a novel bonus). How often are you really even going to use Hera's ability that you wouldn't want to take 2 actions instead? You should know how far the enemy is going to be, and you can't trade a 2 for a 3, for example. So Hera is really just giving you straights, and 2s. Might be nice to hit the brakes and do a 1 Bank sometimes, but it comes at the cost of getting 2 actions. For a PS7 ability, it's just not worth its slot since you're so close to the end game in terms of total XP you'll have to spend. Basically, to me, Hera is only desirable if you find yourself with a lot of post-dial regret. Which is not good for an A-Wing pilot in the first place, lol.

 

Keyan is nice, but he also requires you to shoot to strip that stress token, meaning he's done nothing if you're not on offense. His ability lacks the versatility of a true Focus token. Which again, is coming at the sacrifice of a Boost or Barrel Roll reposition. You're giving up 2 for 1, to get 1.5 for 1.  With Jake, you Focus, B/BR and then you have TL/Evade/Boost as an option on PTL, giving you 3 total actions. With Keyan/PTL you get to pick 2 of the 4 from Evade/Boost/Focus/Target Lock, and if you don't shoot that turn, you're still stressed just like you were if you had Jake/PTLed.

 

Sabine's biggest value is that she is PS5 and thus can be taken earlier and for 2 points less. But the swap, of course, is that your reposition comes before the move, rather than after it, which makes you prejudge your reposition rather than assess it when you're further along in your move. The upside is that it's not tied to Focus, so gives you a little more flexibility in your PTL selection. It's a toss-up whether or not this is better than Jake, and will depend more on your personal preference, but it's definitely better than Keyan or Hera. And I only say that because really, if you're an A-Wing at PS5, you've probably switched a little too early, and it's taking your Outmaneuver/PTL/Predator slot.

 

Of course you could always Jake and Sabine to PTL and become... Action Man! Or potentially just ditch PTL altogether and reintroduce K-Turns to your maneuver dial.

 

As far as Autothrusters vs Shield Upgrade, remember, rolling green dice is bad. If you're getting shot at in your A-Wing at Range 1-2, you're A-Winging wrong. So having an extra shield is of limited value. Especially given the fact that you still have 4 other modification slots you can potentially use to add the extra shield(s).  The A-Wing is unforgiving. If you are overly worried about being forgiven if you goof up, the A-Wing may not be for you, and you're better off sticking to an X-Wing or Y-Wing.

I don't even bother with analyzing the PS9 ability, because you typically fly so few missions at PS9. Wedge is my choice, for the same reason you said, but really at that point, you're probably only a handful of missions from the end of the campaign anyway. The PS9 Elite slot is icing on the cake, not really part of a long-term strategy.

 

I mean, that really is the crux of it. The A-Wing just isn't for everyone, and will never be the "best ship". Like "real" A-Wing pilots, you have to be a little crazy to fly one.

Edited by VaeVictis

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Just started my 2nd campaign (me and 2 friends) with each of us playing 2 ships.  I have chosen to go 2 A-wing and I love the idea of Outmaunver.  I flew a Y-wing in our 1st campaign so was never a thought.  We play EVERY mission so we will more likely get to PS9 and I am so going to do the outmaunver/Wedge combo.

 

What do people think about allowing the A-wing to buy a 2nd or upgraded EM for 1-2 more shots?  Maybe pay 3 points for 2 tokens

Edited by Salted Diamond

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I think the A-Wing currently underperforms slightly. It's simply better do deal out real damage than to evade and suck enemies away most of the times. You also really lose XP.

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if an A-wing could have extra munitions for free or a second misile slot (so he could carry 4 prockets, or assualt) he would feel a lot more like a superiority fighter. 

 

Another idea we where wanting to try is to somehow include a reusable crackshot or just try to fly it juke.

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if an A-wing could have extra munitions for free or a second misile slot (so he could carry 4 prockets, or assualt) he would feel a lot more like a superiority fighter. 

 

Another idea we where wanting to try is to somehow include a reusable crackshot or just try to fly it juke.

There are a million ways to make juke work.

Squad leader is available from go, and if you have a good leader that can get their own action chains going and giving them away, more people will get more experience. Ours is in a TLT HWK, with Kyle katarns abikty. The man is the ultimate action passer, and has recon specialist and PTL.

The Lando pilot ability is a god send. same with Dutch. If you get the two of them flowing, you can end up with 3-4 ships operating on 3-4 actions apiece.

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Our resident Dutch carrier is in a b-wing with FCS, and hobbie's ability. He hands out 2 target locks a turn and can perform any maneuver with impunity.

I've got Lando, so we all group around my x-wing to get the chains going. Lando->target lock->Dutch->target lock spreads the love around.

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The A-wing doesnt need the cloaking device, it wouldnt help it do more damage. All it would do is make it so that it doesnt get hit, which is what the Awing's natural agility and possible stealth device/autothrusters are there for

Thankfully it can take the assault missiles/proton rockets/cluster missiles, etc and extra munitions to make it have a punch for 2 turns.

Our GM let our group take a cannon or extra missile slot on it after we won the rescue the Tie Defender defector mission...he was loose on the wording on purpose to let players take a missile slot or cannon even if they didnt have the slot for it. The catch was that once we made our choice on the exact upgrade we had to keep it, so the Awing has to stay with the one he chose (the HLC). And I'll say that the cannon has helped the Awing out.

I took assault Missiles on my Ywing so i could ordnance out on it having a bomb, a torp, and a missile.

We also have been playing on hard mode where he has upped the number of enemies as if we were playing with an extra one, and we already have 66 or so players (or a couple more) in most sessions...again we just used the scaling for each mission to scale it up.

Now do I suggest this, well maybe.... or rather maybe a variation of it like you can swap out your cannon for the missiles, or just take some extra missiles as a modification slo, or the cannon as a mod slot. For true balance this would need some playtesting, or if the group is okay on giving a bonus then go for it.

Another option for the Awing that I came up with is, let it have an auxillary AFT facing arc. There is some fluff purposes behind this since some Awings were modified by their piltos to rotate their lasers to the aft, now you had to be pretty good shot supposedly to make it work. T

his might help the Awing, again, just a suggestion that people could playtest.

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I think the A-Wing currently underperforms slightly. It's simply better do deal out real damage than to evade and suck enemies away most of the times. You also really lose XP.

This is the problem that faces a lot of players. Go for xp or go for the win. To some there's no middle ground. In the 8 week campaign we had some PS7s whose win-loss ratio was around 50%. They became point hogs.

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We don't have the problematic playing style you mentioned, but let's face it: in HotAC, you gain points by shooting stuff, not by getting shot at and evading. That's a problem for the HWK as well. One might think about group XP to alleviate both problems at once - you know, all XP are pooled and distributed evenly - but that doesn't account for the fact that damaging an enemy every round is incredibly important. This might work, however. I guess I'll put that in my Gozanti campaign playtesting just to see what happens. 

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You can gain XP for assisting kills as well, and that can add up surprisingly fast.

 

As A-Wing that will only work if you're Squad Leader. Not many abilities out there that can support your teammates and that are worth taking on an A-Wing.

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You can gain XP for assisting kills as well, and that can add up surprisingly fast.

As A-Wing that will only work if you're Squad Leader. Not many abilities out there that can support your teammates and that are worth taking on an A-Wing.

I beg to differ- Garven Dreis's ability with Jake Farrel (though that doesnt have to be on an A-wing). Same with Dutch if you like doing target locks.

Both are rather useful on any craft. either or even both with Push the Limit is pretty nice for getting EXP, and you can afford to do so with the greens to shed stress easily.

Oh and lastly, Biggs' ability might be retty decent in an Awing, since it'll have enough agility to survive most regular TIE attacks unscathed, especially so if you take Stealth Device...Though I admit I do not recall if his ability gives an assist point.

Edited by knavelead

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