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Blue Five

An Alternative Look At Arc Dodgers and Jousters

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The TIE fighter can not only arc-dodge when need be but arc-dodge competently. It's no interceptor but a high PS TIE ace has a positional advantage over a lot of things.

Edited by Blue Five

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Or the way I'd phrase it with this approach is a traditional jouster is required to arc-dodge. It can't and so it dies. Because it doesn't have a statline advantage it ceases to be a jouster and becomes a terrible arc-dodger instead.

Edited by Blue Five

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One additional note, Turrets completely remove options 3 and 4. They are left with 1,2, and out of range.

vvv Fair. Eliminates 4 and narrows 3. vvv

Edited by AEIllingworth
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One additional note, Turrets completely remove option 4. They are left with 1,2, and out of range.

 

True but also not that simple.

 

For the turret this isn't the biggest deal: its concern is if it goes for Arc Dodge and takes Joust where it can't or if it goes for Arc Dodge and takes No Shots where it can't.

 

The ship fighting the turret however is left with 2-3-4: Joust, No Shot and Arc-Dodged. The primary weapon turret is the apex of positional power: you can't arc dodge a PWT. The ship fighting the turret only has one outcome in which it can actually damage the turret and that's joust. Therefore anything fighting a turret has to be the jouster no matter what. This means the turret usually starts as the arc-dodger and that's why Engine Upgrade is so common on it.

 

With most ships this isn't an issue: the turrets are balanced by paying a huge cost for their 360 guns which means equivalent points in most ships has the statline advantage and the battle comes down to maneuvering which is what you want in a maneuvering game. The TIE interceptor is a ship skewed towards positional advantage and thus often lacking in statline advantage. This meant it was forced to arc-dodge the undodgeable king of arc-dodgers and led to the Falcon being reviled by interceptor players, especially when it became dominant in Wave 4.

To beat the Falcon the interceptor has to become the jouster of the matchup and that's why Autothrusters was created: it allows the interceptor to very easily turn its positional advantage into a statline one. There's a bit of counterplay the turret can attempt by getting the interceptor into Range 1-2 in arc but Autothruster's main achievement is turning the interceptor into the jouster in an interceptor versus turret fight. The turret often retains positional advantage (the interceptor has more moves but the turret doesn't have to worry about facing) turning the matchup into a maneuver battle where each ship has an advantage in one aspect instead of a kerbstomp where the turret has both.

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I'm surprised this topic hasn't gotten more attention and discussion. I think the idea that "jouster" and "arc dodger" are contextual instead of absolutes makes it a lot easier to understand the current state of the game's balance and why certain match-ups work the way they do.

Edited by EdgeOfDreams
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I really like the post, but it kinda falls in the so-well-thought-out-I-don't-know-what-to-add limbo. I'm trying to think of a way to integrate superior numbers or bombs or one time use upgrades as a threat, but OP's argument stands on its own. Well done.

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I really like the post, but it kinda falls in the so-well-thought-out-I-don't-know-what-to-add limbo. I'm trying to think of a way to integrate superior numbers or bombs or one time use upgrades as a threat, but OP's argument stands on its own. Well done.

 

For a start on superior numbers, you can treat a group of identical or near-identical craft sort of like one mega-ship. One-use upgrades are just one more piece of context that can change the roles, similar to what Blue Five said about hit points.

 

For example, take a Crack Shot swarm against triple torpedo Jumpmasters. Both have really good stat lines, so it's hard to say initially which one wants to joust more. But after the first pass, both groups will have almost certainly used up some of their limited-use upgrades, and either or both sides may have lost one or more ships. You can then evaluate the new situation and ask which side has the better jousting statline remaining. Let's say it's the TIE swarm for example - they've still got a few Crack Shots left, and they only lost one of their TIEs and took damage on a second one, while the Jumpmasters lost a whole ship. Since the TIEs are ahead by raw statline at this point, they can continue to take a simple, direct jousting approach, while the Jumpmasters need to work harder. The Jumpmasters might start trying to use a blocking strategy where one of them blocks and the other tries to get out of as many arcs as it can. This turns the Jumpmasters into "arc dodgers" of a sort.

 

Bombs can also fit into this framework if you think of "getting hit by a bomb" as analogous to "being in my opponent's arc" in the sense that both are dangerous. If your ship can afford to get hit by a bomb because it has a good statline and the bomb is not that threatening (say, your Decimator versus an opponent's Seismic Charge), then your ship can "joust" the bomber in the sense that it can charge right into bomb range and still come out ahead on the exchange of fire. On the other hand, if you've got Soontir Fel and you're threatened with a Sabine Wren crew buffed Proximity Mine or Conner net, you darn well better arc-dodge that bomb.

Edited by EdgeOfDreams
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I thought this topic had died, glad to see it back.

 

I really like the post, but it kinda falls in the so-well-thought-out-I-don't-know-what-to-add limbo.

 
I'd expected it to be discussion of application: taking real scenarios and working out how this applies.
 
I'm trying to think of a way to integrate superior numbers or bombs or one time use upgrades as a threat, but OP's argument stands on its own. Well done.

 

It works quite well if you treat them as one ship: each one you dodge reduces the statline advantage of the whole. The goal with arc dodging multiple ships is to dodge enough of them to the point where you can joust what remains favourably.

 

Bombs reduce enemy positioning advantage while you have them as they limit where they can go. If you hit with them they reduce enemy statline advantage like any other damage.

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I really like how this shows why what have been called "arc-dodgers" as a ship type become so powerful when you give them the capability to joust.

 

Also It shows why Poe and his regen buddies are some of the only jousters still shown to be powerful.  Since as ships built to be jousters lose HP they and lose their jousting advantage and need to start arc-dodgeing with they can't do.  But Regen ships can regain shields meaning they can regain their jousting if it is lost.

 

Arc-dodge built ships on the other hand, if the first few round go against them (but they are still alive) are still just as good at arc-dodging, don't lose their advantage if things go poorly for them in the beginning.

 

Additionally I liked how he pointed out what I have been saying since the Falcon came out.  Turret ships are arc dodgers they just do it differently than say an Interceptor.

 

Over all great analysis.

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I'd expected it to be discussion of application: taking real scenarios and working out how this applies.

 

So, here's an interesting one: Soontir Fel (PTL, SD, AT) versus Fenn Rau (PTL, AT, title) - who is the jouster? I think the answer is...

 

...both! And neither!

 

The big difference between these two is how they perform at different ranges. At Range 3, both get Autothrusters, so that's a wash. But at both Range 2 and 3, Soontir is rolling more defense dice than Rau. Combine that with the Interceptor's option to Evade, and Soontir should probably come out ahead on any exchange of fire at those ranges. On the other hand, at Range 1, Fenn Rau rolls just as many green dice as Soontir, plus he gets to stack on an Evade from his title. Rau also has an extra attack die at Range 1, which is pretty strong, especially if he can set up a Focus+Target Lock shot.

 

So, the priority order for Soontir looks something like this:

  1. Shoot without getting shot (arc dodge).
  2. Both shoot each other at Range 2 or 3 (joust that favors Soontir).
  3. No shots.
  4. Both shoot each other at Range 1 (joust that favors Fenn Rau).
  5. Get shot without having a shot (got arc dodged)

Meanwhile, Fenn Rau takes that same list of priorities but swaps 2 and 4.

 

You could go even further with this and break down exact choices of action, or deal with how it changes once Fel loses his Steath Device, or argue about what happens depending on who has initiative, but I think people should get the basic idea here.

Edited by EdgeOfDreams

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What about blockers?

 

Blocking another ship does two things  First, it creates a mutual "no shots" scenario between the two ships, which may be preferable over a joust. And second, by denying actions, it effectively reduces the statline or mobility or both of the blocked ship for the duration of that round of combat. This can allow you to create a favorable joust or prevent an arc dodge. For example, a torpedo Jumpmaster normally wants to joust (at least until it has used up its torpedoes), but if you block it, it doesn't have the focus to fire a torp, so now its statline has been effectively reduced to the point where jousting is unfavorable for the Jumpmaster against most ships. 

Edited by EdgeOfDreams
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What about blockers?

 

Blocking another ship does two things  First, it creates a mutual "no shots" scenario between the two ships, which may be preferable over a joust. And second, by denying actions, it effectively reduces the statline or mobility or both of the blocked ship for the duration of that round of combat. This can allow you to create a favorable joust or prevent an arc dodge. For example, a torpedo Jumpmaster normally wants to joust (at least until it has used up its torpedoes), but if you block it, it doesn't have the focus to fire a torp, so now its statline has been effectively reduced to the point where jousting is unfavorable for the Jumpmaster against most ships. 

 

Blocking seems like an under-discussed topic here.  I'm surprised with the plethora of "filler" ships available, blocking hasn't become more of a tactic.  One of the best games I played in the second tournament I played it, I used a Z-95 to block my opponent's best ship and then was able to use the rest of my ships to pour fire into it. A few games later, and I resorted to this tactic several more times.  The Headhunter was hearty enough to last a few turns as a successful blocker, occasionally getting in a shot here and there to help other ships. 

 

On the other hand, I know that with most squads, each ship is something of an investment.  It's on the squad for a reason, and it doesn't need to be wasted on stopping another ships movement. 

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Blocking is a tool against both arc-dodgers, as it prevents them from repositionning actions, and also against jousters, stripping them from tokens.
But blocking is easier on jousters, since their moves are generally easier to guess (but that's not a problem, since a blocked arc-dodger is generally in a far more dangerous position than a blocked jouster).

Actually, blocking is the best way to deal with arc dodgers. Too bad, FFG wants to strip that from us by giving actions to blocked imperial aces (via Ren's shuttle)...

Edited by Giledhil

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of application: taking real scenarios and working out how this applies.

 

So, here's an interesting one: Soontir Fel (PTL, SD, AT) versus Fenn Rau (PTL, AT, title) - who is the jouster? I think the answer is...

 

...both! And neither!

 

(discussion of range dependent statline power)

 

Indeed.

 

Range dependent stat boots are an example of a way you can turn positional advantage into statline advantage: you can joust if you get into that position but otherwise you need to arc dodge. I'd actually thought of this example a while ago: that someone else thought of it in almost exactly the same way reflects well on this approach.

 

What about blockers?

 

Reduces the statline advantage of an action-dependent ship and reduces the positioning advantage of an action repositioning ship. It usually narrows the gap (or widens if if you're ahead) rather than inverts the roles (I can't think of many cases outside of heavy token stacking against two die ships where blocking is enough to turn a jouster into an arc-dodger for the round) but narrowing the statline gap when you're behind is always going to improve your chances.

Edited by Blue Five

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What about blockers?

 

Blocking another ship does two things  First, it creates a mutual "no shots" scenario between the two ships, which may be preferable over a joust. And second, by denying actions, it effectively reduces the statline or mobility or both of the blocked ship for the duration of that round of combat. This can allow you to create a favorable joust or prevent an arc dodge. For example, a torpedo Jumpmaster normally wants to joust (at least until it has used up its torpedoes), but if you block it, it doesn't have the focus to fire a torp, so now its statline has been effectively reduced to the point where jousting is unfavorable for the Jumpmaster against most ships. 

 

Blocking seems like an under-discussed topic here.  I'm surprised with the plethora of "filler" ships available, blocking hasn't become more of a tactic.  One of the best games I played in the second tournament I played it, I used a Z-95 to block my opponent's best ship and then was able to use the rest of my ships to pour fire into it. A few games later, and I resorted to this tactic several more times.  The Headhunter was hearty enough to last a few turns as a successful blocker, occasionally getting in a shot here and there to help other ships. 

 

On the other hand, I know that with most squads, each ship is something of an investment.  It's on the squad for a reason, and it doesn't need to be wasted on stopping another ships movement. 

 

Blocking is one of the more difficult parts of X-wing for me. While I understand the concept and lately have been seeing/hearing more discussions about it (shout out Back to Dials), I have a hard time translating that onto the board. I think my correctly anticipating my opponent's maneuver is about on par; it is just getting the range and/or final position correct. More practice I guess.

As for filler ships. I get it but I don't. I see fillers in lists fairly often and usually you run them naked or nearly so. There role is to block and screen. However, while I know there will be casualties, I never consider any of my ships expendable. Even if I am practicing a swarm or with Biggs, I try to keep everyone alive as long as possible.

I'll stop there before I drag this to far off topic. Thanks for this thread. It is helpful.

Edited by Eyegor

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Interesting take on the jouster/arc dodger definition.

My own experience from this tournament season where I've been playing Brobots alot is that I sure has switched playstyle from jousting to arc dodging both between games and also in games, for example if an intial statistically advantageous joust goes all wrong due to extraordinary bad dice, leading to me switching to arc dodging.

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To beat the Falcon the interceptor has to become the jouster of the matchup and that's why Autothrusters was created: it allows the interceptor to very easily turn its positional advantage into a statline one. There's a bit of counterplay the turret can attempt by getting the interceptor into Range 1-2 in arc but Autothruster's main achievement is turning the interceptor into the jouster in an interceptor versus turret fight. The turret often retains positional advantage (the interceptor has more moves but the turret doesn't have to worry about facing) turning the matchup into a maneuver battle where each ship has an advantage in one aspect instead of a kerbstomp where the turret has both.

 

 

Technical the autothruster does not make the interceptor into a jouster against turrets, but instead turns the turret from an arc dodger into a jouster again. Having the guy in arc and getting that in arc shot becomes again priority over dodging the arc and taking that turret shot. Autothruster opponents give pwt ships a  1,2,3,4 priority, because their stateline is worse when they have their target not in arc (and in r2). 

 

But that is a nitpick, the rest is just basic x-wing. You could add to all that: Formations themselves can become single entities. While a single TIE-Fighter is an arc dodger, a swarm of 7 in formation usually is a jouster because there is little what can withstand the combined stateline. 

 

What you miss as well is the bait. A lot of ships are perfectly valid bait. Biggs for example, getting shot is often better than not getting shot. The whole idea of having flankers is based on that. Your statline is again better, but this time you compare the defensive statline of one of your ships, together with your offensive stateline of another ship which does the flanking. Allows as well to easier to tip your defensive and offensive statlines in your favor. That whole thing is the basic idea why wingmen increase your efficiency dramatically. 

 

Blockers are another type of ships with prever no-shots or getting shot while other ships do the work, again this a good defensive statline from one ship with good offensive statlines of other ships. 

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The game moved well beyond these three pillars long ago. Turrets are often just as good at arc dodging as arc dodgers, pure jousters don't exist competitively, arc Dodgers often are actually "action economy" ships that can also reposition.

No one ship can do just one of these and be successful post wave 5 or so... Xwing isn't so simple anymore. The terms we use to define it can't be either.

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