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Punning Pundit

2 Attack Dice and The Tank Meta

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Currently, X-Wing's competitive tier is dominated by tanks. Let me explain what I mean by that:

In my mind, a "tank" is a unit that can soak up a lot of damage without losing effectiveness. They can be tanks either by virtue of having lots of health, lots of dice + dice mods, or both. As an example: the VCX-100 has 16 health against zero agility. It would take 4 perfect Proton Torpedo hits (12 points!) for it to die, assuming it doesn't have the evade token. Tanky!

Then you have ships like the Lancer Class Pursuit Craft. 10 health over 2 defense dice. 3 Torpedoes (9 points) to kill it, but if those defense dice can be modified, it has the evade action, it might survive even all that.

And of course, you have the champion of tanks- the TIE Defender. 6 health over 3 defense dice, plus a nearly guaranteed evade token. This ship takes a fair bit of killing. It's worth noting that the Defender could take 3 perfect torpedoes to the chin, and if the Green dice are hot, the Defender might lose only 2 shields.

None of this is bad. These are interesting ships and can be built in a few different ways. But knowing that we're in an era of tanks means we're also in an era of tank busters. That's where things get a bit worrying.

To complete in the current X-Wing environment, a ship has to be both a tank _and_ a tank buster. And that means 2 attack dice ships simply cannot compete. 2 dice ships can't reliably put out enough damage to get through 2 or 3 defense dice + any mods. Not all tanks have that much defense. Ships like the aforementioned Ghost, or the the Lambda shuttle will definitely get chipped away at by A-Wings and Z-95s.

But if I want to play even a friendly game, I need to take into account the fact that my friends might well bring ships that can modify a lot of dice. So goodbye TIE Fighters.

Accuracy Corrector Tempest Squadron pilots would be really good if they didn't have to go up against Punishing Ones, or Omega Leader. And the TIE S/F tends not to use its double tap, because it can't reliably hit with its 2 dice. Not to mention A-Wings or Z-95s, or the like.

I'm not honestly sure what can be done. I've got a couple ideas. I don't think the issue is about tanks specifically, tbh.

Mostly I wanted to open a discussion of the extreme weakness of the 2 die attack, and hear from folks as to your experiences. Am I wrong? Are people seeing success with these ships? If so, what are you doing?

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The problem is not tanks. The problem is near-tanks with 2 AGI (shadow caster, Jumpmaster, others). Add to that re-gen or other damage mitigation (x7, Latts, etc) and they become unkillable with 2 AGI ships. 2 ATT ships could swarm a decimator or Falcon and whittle away, but no more, especially with the red-faced escalation. I rarely even field 2 Agility ships anymore at all as they simply are ineffective.

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On solution would be the idea of combined fire. . .if several ships fire at the same target, they may either pool their dice into one larger attack or give each other a bonus for all attacking the  same target.  The card (EPT, Mod, whatever) could be like the Lightened Frame in that it only applies to (pre-modified) attacks of 2 dice or less.

 

It essentially creates a new way to swarm that is effective against tanks.

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lol "currently"

 

been there since wave 5, gents!

 

 

and no, you're not wrong. 2 dice shots were the reason we got crackswarm to go anywhere, and not so much nowadays due to defenders

 

even I, for my love of ARCs, will not waste anyone's time playing them without tailgunner or gunner (or tactician if just giving up on damage)

Edited by ficklegreendice

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I don't know about that. There aren't many B-wings around.  :P

 

Okay so form what we see is sort of like a shifting power creep where the meta moves from tanky to killy. In a tanky meta games go to time quite frequently and the MOV is the most important aspect of the meta because it really does decide who wins (Think Fat Han and the point fortresses before the large ship mov nerf). In killy games are quick and most often ends in tabling your opponent. Dice rolls and mitigation of randomness seems to be the biggest contributing factor.

 

SO do games go to time or go to table? Well for the most part games is going to table however there is an emphasis on hard to kill ships. (the counter to a killy meta). So I wouldn't call this a Tank meta just yet. The meta does seem to cycle from tank to kill. So it might be at the tail end of kill (post TLT and U-boats) thus merging into tank part of the cycle, but it is not there yet. ;)

Edited by Marinealver

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Currently, X-Wing's competitive tier is

 

 Ace Wing Sucks.

:mellow:

 

The thing is just messing up this game more and more it seems.

:o  :huh:  :angry:

 

What are you talking about???  What about all those great scenes where Luke single-handedly goes head-to-head with the top pilot the Empire can field and slays him in mortal combat!!! 

 

Oh wait, that was Maximus in Gladiator.

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Changing from 60 minute rounds to 75 made a big impact on the time/table thing. That extra 15 minutes makes it far harder for tank lists to survive with a win. It became far easier to build lists that  won via attrition than defense. Unless Zuckuss is removed, there will continue to be a massive spike of "kill" lists out there.

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On solution would be the idea of combined fire. . .if several ships fire at the same target, they may either pool their dice into one larger attack or give each other a bonus for all attacking the  same target.  The card (EPT, Mod, whatever) could be like the Lightened Frame in that it only applies to (pre-modified) attacks of 2 dice or less.

 

It essentially creates a new way to swarm that is effective against tanks.

 

So, Swarm Leader? 

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I've been thinking along similar lines myself for some time. Some of the combinations in game now make two red dice ships all but obsolete. Unless you're packing Crack or Juke, or running missiles, torpedoes or bombs, 2 red dice ships will be facing a real uphill struggle.

The fact that a lot of those two ted dice ships can also potentially be one shotted doesn't help matters either.

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Well, anything that can take an EPT like Predator will be much better off. It allows the ship to survive longer because you can rely on passive mitigation for attack and save your focus or evade for defense. Three Black Squadrons with Predator have proven very useful to me quite often. They seem fairly reliable at getting two hits, whether or not they all go through. But working together, three of them are very good. One can block and the other two can fire. 

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The red flag on two dice attacks went up in wave 4 with the phantom and hasn't really went down yet. Awings are a great place for something new and swarms but they already have crack and juke.

Coordinated fire, EPT, 1pt: when attacking, if the defender is in arc of another friendly ship... (Not sure. Add result, subtract result, may not spend focus or reroll?). You cannot equip this card if your attack is 3 or higher.

Ties would love something new to play with but that would have to come in the mod slot and be dirt cheap.

Variable Targeting computer, modification, 0pt: when attacking, if another friendly ship is at range 1 of the defender, you may treat your range as 1 less. You may not equip this modification of your attack is 3 or higher.

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On solution would be the idea of combined fire. . .if several ships fire at the same target, they may either pool their dice into one larger attack or give each other a bonus for all attacking the  same target.  The card (EPT, Mod, whatever) could be like the Lightened Frame in that it only applies to (pre-modified) attacks of 2 dice or less.

 

It essentially creates a new way to swarm that is effective against tanks.

 

So, Swarm Leader? 

 

Obviously not good enough, or we wouldn't be having this thread.

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On solution would be the idea of combined fire. . .if several ships fire at the same target, they may either pool their dice into one larger attack or give each other a bonus for all attacking the  same target.  The card (EPT, Mod, whatever) could be like the Lightened Frame in that it only applies to (pre-modified) attacks of 2 dice or less.

 

It essentially creates a new way to swarm that is effective against tanks.

 

So, Swarm Leader? 

 

 

Yes....Swarm Leader is the thing to help Tie Fighters out in this situation.  I flew a list with a built out Vader and 5 Tie Fighters and it was fantastic.  I call it "I have you now".  

 

4 Tie Bombers are also really good (still).

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Well, it only came out like a month ago - and it does only work with certain kinds of swarms (namely those who can Evade). 

And as long as you are flying "experienced" (EPT slot) pilots.  It does nothing to help a swarm of low PS generics.

 

 

Black Squadron Pilot. PS4. 14 Points. 

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Well, it only came out like a month ago - and it does only work with certain kinds of swarms (namely those who can Evade). 

And as long as you are flying "experienced" (EPT slot) pilots.  It does nothing to help a swarm of low PS generics.

 

 

Black Squadron Pilot. PS4. 14 Points. 

 

Sure, but that still leaves some others in the dust (like Academy Pilots).  OTOH, I thought it was Unique like Squad Leader, so it is more versatile than I originally thought.

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We are in a tank meta.

 

The 4 pillars of tank meta are:

1) X7 Defenders

2) Dengar, Lone Wolf, Overclocked, Counter-measures

3) Asajj Ventress, PTL, Latts Razzi

4) Corran Horn, PTL, R2-D2

 

A card similar to 'Lightweight Frame', except for attack dice, could help 2-attack ships.

 - Laser Targeting - (to equip, your attack must be 2 or lower) 3 points

"Roll an extra attack die if the defender would roll more defense dice than your attack." Primary weapon only

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So when arc dodging 2 evade damage mitigating Fat Han killed off the swarms with 4(!) attack Phantoms finishing them up, and Brobots came along and ran circles around anything with 2 attack, that wasn't an era of 'tanks?'

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A card similar to 'Lightweight Frame', except for attack dice, could help 2-attack ships.

 - Laser Targeting - (to equip, your attack must be 2 or lower) 3 points

"Roll an extra attack die if the defender would roll more defense dice than your attack." Primary weapon only

I could get behind this idea, maybe drop it down to 2 points, but it would certainly shake up the meta

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We are in a tank meta.

 

The 4 pillars of tank meta are:

1) X7 Defenders

2) Dengar, Lone Wolf, Overclocked, Counter-measures

3) Asajj Ventress, PTL, Latts Razzi

4) Corran Horn, PTL, R2-D2

 

A card similar to 'Lightweight Frame', except for attack dice, could help 2-attack ships.

 - Laser Targeting - (to equip, your attack must be 2 or lower) 3 points

"Roll an extra attack die if the defender would roll more defense dice than your attack." Primary weapon only

 

But do games go to time or to table? If time then defense is heavier so tank. If table it is not a tank meta.

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I don't think the attack of the swarmy ships needs to be increased. Look at OL he has 2 attack and can regularly get damage through on just about any ship. I think a mod something like his ability would be great.

"Targeting something" when attacking if the defender rolls more defense dice than you rolled attack dice then the defense dice cannot be modified. You may not quip this upgrade if your attack value is above 2. 1 point.

Doesn't work with Juke or crackshot but evens the odds of hitting because we all know you can't rely on unmodified defense dice.

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