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Hrathen

How to beat x7 Defenders (and why that is good for the game)

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The thing is, X-Wing at core ISN'T a game about outflying your opponent.  It's a game about outmodifying their dice.

But they have nothing to modify if they can't get you in arc/range :P

 

But you are right, I just think modifying is a very very very close second to flying.

 

 

And as for X7s, just mess with their green dice as much as possible. They hate it.

Exactly xwing at its core is a dogfighting game. Where you try to outfly your opponent. If you can do this you win. No matter the dice mods.

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x7 title not the problem. Three x7s with crack are tough, but not OP or broken.

 

Public Enemy #1 is:Emperor-palpatine-1-.png

 

I will give an example even though we have all witnessed his shenanigannery:

 

I was playing x7 Vessery and x7 Brath, along with Deathfire vs Ketsu/Kath + Homing Missile/K4

I kept Ketsu from range 1 of Vessery, and got my evade and focus.

Ketsu fired first, with Dengar rerolls, got 3 hits.

I rolled a horrible: eye,blank,blank

So, I spend my tokens and take 1 hit, and get tractor beamed (-1 agility)

Now I am rolling 2 naked green dice vs a Homing Missile that is guaranteed one crit.

Well, it ends up being hit hit crit crit.

I blank out on green dice. One crit was a Direct hit. Vessery is gone before he can fire once.

 

All of the above never happened, if Palpatine is on the board and prevents the damage from Ketsu and I lose the agility. Vessery takes some damage from homing missile, but is far from dead. I rolled 4 blanks in 5 dice. Dead without Palps, maybe just shields gone with Palps.

I mean... This is a way to phrase things that pushes an agenda I suppose. A more objective statement seems to be +1.375 evades with Palp which really isn't that insane for a 1x per round double crew slot 8 point upgrade.

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The thing is, X-Wing at core ISN'T a game about outflying your opponent.  It's a game about outmodifying their dice.

Best way to outmodify dice? Make sure they don't use them. You outmaneuver someone, they don't get a shot or don't get an optimal shot. It's all about prospective.
 

true on both counts

 

best way to outmodify dice is ensure people don't get to throw any

 

also to abuse range such that you get better exchanges of dice depending on which ship you're flying

 

 

but, ultimately, if you cannot get past your opponent's dice your good flying doesn't amount to jack

 

which is why PWTs were utter bull until autothrusters, TLTs and crackshot allowed you to actually beat them in a dice trade

Fair, though I feel that there are a couple of offensive tricks that rely on out flying your opponent that deny dice, namely bombs and Autoblasters. Now, Autoblasters and some bombs do deal with red dice, but it seems the popular bombs don't roll dice and Autoblasters still only have their own dice to worry about.

 

 

we need more of all of that, yes please

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The Defender now is a ship with a low skill floor that can still be used well with a high skill ceiling. There are going to be times where the best maneuver for a Defender pilot is to use one of their sub-3 maneuvers. Learning when and where to use those maneuvers so that you are difficult to predict despite the title is what seperates the wheat from the chaff.

 

I could not agree more. I've always been a huge fan of Defenders, and my number one piece of advice flying them is what you describe.

 

As powerful as a free evade is, it's still just a token - and there are so many things in the game that mess with, steal, deny or ignore tokens. Defenders hate stress-mountains (not having the focus as well makes a huge difference to their survivability), ion (no evade from that), tractor beams (the way Defenders fly makes them susceptible to being hurled onto rocks, and agility reduction reduces the usefulness of their tokens), and auto-damage (which skips them entirely).

 

Defenders don't dodge (they arn't nimble enough), they point at the foe and just take the hits - which means it shouldn't be horribly difficult to attack one multiple times in a round, and those tokens only go so far. The trick, of course, is keeping up enough damage to destroy them before they wear you down, and like I said - there are so many ways to do that.

 

The most commonly used Defenders are Ryad (of course) and Vessery (because his ability can get ridiculous), but personally I don't fly either of them - I have, however, flown against them a lot. Ryad can be brutal, and you don't really want an engame 1v1 with her if you can avoid it, but at the same time it can be easier with her than most Defenders to deny her shots altogether during the game. It's a safe bet she will PTL fairly often, which then immediately cuts down her movement options, as even with MKII Engines there's only so far she can turn to the side while still getting her evade. It's also possible to block at least two of her four potential K-turns in any given round if a ship moves before her - hopefully the terrain can further limit her options meaning the choice of which two to block becomes easier. She also hates stress-mountaineering more than most, as it effectively shuts off PTL (and part of her ability) until the stress-giver can be destroyed. Her PS is her biggest weakness, as it makes her vulnerable to being sniped before she can fire as well as having trouble catching arc-dodging ships.

 

As for Vessery, if he is in a list he should probably be your first target, because the damage he can do is staggering and if he has Expertise or Crack Shot paired with a TIE/D Ion Cannon, he can all but win the game. The alternative (if he is an X/7 variant, and his squadmates are much squishier than him) is to destroy his enablers: kill every other ship that can Target Lock. TIE/FO's and TIE Advanced are often used for this, as well as anything with FCS for the obvious synergy.

Fortunately, Vessery, too, is vulnerable to PS-sniping and outmaneuvering at his PS of 6 - you sometimes see him with VI, but if you do that's probably the best case scenario for you.

 

My last piece of advice is more vague (I don't want to give all my Defender secrets away ;)): The named pilots scare people. The Deltas win games.

Edited by MalusCalibur

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The thing is, X-Wing at core ISN'T a game about outflying your opponent.  It's a game about outmodifying their dice.

Best way to outmodify dice? Make sure they don't use them. You outmaneuver someone, they don't get a shot or don't get an optimal shot. It's all about prospective.
 

true on both counts

 

best way to outmodify dice is ensure people don't get to throw any

 

also to abuse range such that you get better exchanges of dice depending on which ship you're flying

 

 

but, ultimately, if you cannot get past your opponent's dice your good flying doesn't amount to jack

 

which is why PWTs were utter bull until autothrusters, TLTs and crackshot allowed you to actually beat them in a dice trade

Fair, though I feel that there are a couple of offensive tricks that rely on out flying your opponent that deny dice, namely bombs and Autoblasters. Now, Autoblasters and some bombs do deal with red dice, but it seems the popular bombs don't roll dice and Autoblasters still only have their own dice to worry about.

 

we need more of all of that, yes please

I know you're a fan of the triple K list, but have you played around much with Deathfire?

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I don't really have a problem with X/7's. Yes they are very good but if you focus fire with 2+ships they can be brought down fairly quickly.

That is simply not true.

 

The expected damage of 3 red dice + Focus + TL against a Defender with the Evade is 0.8. Against Defender with Focus+Evade it's a measly 0.3dmg.

 

For 4 red dice against Defender + Evade you get 0.44, for 4 red + Focus/TL it's 1.03 and 4 red + Focus+TL you get 1.64. So yes, a 4-attack ship with Focus and TL can bring them down very quickly, in 3-6 attacks...

But if the Defender used Focus, even 4 red + Focus+TL yields only 0.94 expected damage, so you need 6+ attacks. That's not "fairly quickly".

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Tie/D is better.

Its weird how people act like a defender with 1 evade is comparable to 3 u-boats doing like 12-16 hits in the first round of combat.

I think most People are chapped because there's a bigger variety of lists out there now and they can't figure out what to build that is so OP it can smash them all.

Ultimately the game *is* more positioning than dice mods because you won't be able to stop every single list that comes at you by fiddling with their dice. You have to fly better, even if it means picking away with lighter attacks.

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Tie/D is better.

Its weird how people act like a defender with 1 evade is comparable to 3 u-boats doing like 12-16 hits in the first round of combat.

I think most People are chapped because there's a bigger variety of lists out there now and they can't figure out what to build that is so OP it can smash them all.

Ultimately the game *is* more positioning than dice mods because you won't be able to stop every single list that comes at you by fiddling with their dice. You have to fly better, even if it means picking away with lighter attacks.

 

Probably because I have easily killed TIE/D and have put two Proton Torpedoes (2H, 2C each) into a single TIE/X7 with no damage.

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I always get scared facing them, yet I end up beating them pretty well.

 

I flew Asajj/Dengar against them, and managed to focus all 2/3 (in arc with Dengar) shots on one at a time. And with 2 of those attacks having ways (one with R4-B11, one with Zuckuss) to make them reroll successful greens (and hopefully force token use) BEFORE they get to shoot (as Vessery is the highest PS one I've seen flown, and I VI Asajj) you can take them down pretty fast.

 

And double-stressing a PTL Ryad can shut her down well too.

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Tie/D is better.

Its weird how people act like a defender with 1 evade is comparable to 3 u-boats doing like 12-16 hits in the first round of combat.

I think most People are chapped because there's a bigger variety of lists out there now and they can't figure out what to build that is so OP it can smash them all.

Ultimately the game *is* more positioning than dice mods because you won't be able to stop every single list that comes at you by fiddling with their dice. You have to fly better, even if it means picking away with lighter attacks.

 

Probably because I have easily killed TIE/D and have put two Proton Torpedoes (2H, 2C each) into a single TIE/X7 with no damage.

 

Yeah. There's a reason why you've seen many more x7s than TIE/Ds. The x7 is generally more durable (the evade token being worth at least one shield point against most attacks), reliable (you always get that token when you perform a fast enough maneuver), and anywhere from three to five points cheaper than a TIE/D depending on the cannon equipped. Those points allow it to pack extra modifications or to bring stronger wingmen.

 

That evade token also allows you to be more aggressive on offense. If an x7 spends their focus token on offense, they'll still have that evade token to help them on defense. The /D not only has to decide which attack they'll spend their token on, but it also has to rely entirely on umodified green dice when defending.

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My last piece of advice is more vague (I don't want to give all my Defender secrets away ;)): The named pilots scare people. The Deltas win games.

 

 

This is so true. IMO one of the keys to beating named x7 Defenders (with lower PS) is to block them to take away some of their tankiness. You can't block Deltas (since other PS1 is almost non-existent), and they can very easily block you. And they still deal the pain when they need to.

Edited by slowdive

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x7 title not the problem. Three x7s with crack are tough, but not OP or broken.

 

Public Enemy #1 is:Emperor-palpatine-1-.png

 

I will give an example even though we have all witnessed his shenanigannery:

 

I was playing x7 Vessery and x7 Brath, along with Deathfire vs Ketsu/Kath + Homing Missile/K4

I kept Ketsu from range 1 of Vessery, and got my evade and focus.

Ketsu fired first, with Dengar rerolls, got 3 hits.

I rolled a horrible: eye,blank,blank

So, I spend my tokens and take 1 hit, and get tractor beamed (-1 agility)

Now I am rolling 2 naked green dice vs a Homing Missile that is guaranteed one crit.

Well, it ends up being hit hit crit crit.

I blank out on green dice. One crit was a Direct hit. Vessery is gone before he can fire once.

 

All of the above never happened, if Palpatine is on the board and prevents the damage from Ketsu and I lose the agility. Vessery takes some damage from homing missile, but is far from dead. I rolled 4 blanks in 5 dice. Dead without Palps, maybe just shields gone with Palps.

I mean... This is a way to phrase things that pushes an agenda I suppose. A more objective statement seems to be +1.375 evades with Palp which really isn't that insane for a 1x per round double crew slot 8 point upgrade.

The thing with Palpatine is that 1 evade per round gets disproportionately more useful the more mitigation your target had to begin with. If your list was already doing on average 10 damage to a target in a round, reducing 10 to 9 us nithing soectacular. Reducing 2 to 1 or 1 to near 0 is a much bigger deal however.

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As it happens, I love the Defender. I _do_ think X7 is stronger than it ought to have been, but only by a bit. And I'm annoyed that the X7 title pushed the TIE/D away. Those are all my biases.

The difficulty with the X7 is that it gets that evade token _even if it bumps_, and _even if it is stressed_. That makes outflying it harder than it otherwise would be.

I do like the fact that outflying it has brought some ion control into the meta. Yay bombs! Yay Sabine! But learing to outfly the X7 is a different skill than learning how to outfly pretty much any other ship.

I think that's the real issue people are having with the ship. It's harder to learn to fly against than it is to learn to fly.

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I think that's the real issue people are having with the ship. It's harder to learn to fly against than it is to learn to fly.

That's on point. As someone mentioned, the skill floor is _very_ low for defenders. The skill ceiling is also quite high, which is probably why many good players don't like the defender bashing. It's still a ship where much can be learned.

 

Also your other point is very important:

The difficulty with the X7 is that it gets that evade token _even if it bumps_, and _even if it is stressed_. That makes outflying it harder than it otherwise would be.

This means defender take much - for many too much - initiative in the sense that they force the other players to react. And not in the good way by playing it a certain way. No, just the defender itself forces all others to completely change their approach just for that one ship.

 

That's not a priori a bad thing. It can be frustrating though.

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The free evade is OK, but I wouldn't mind if it were worded such that blocking, rocks, or even stress could shut it down. That'd leave the hull intact, but reward better play from your opponents (and punish your own mistakes) better.

Want an outright NERF? Make the token cost a stress one, too. Now the card is a price discount with a conditional PTL effect as an option, rather than automatic.

I personally feel the latter is probably too much, but it's certainly an elegant fix... Because that stress suddenly makes the evade a sometimes food, without changing the cards capability.

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I don't really have a problem with X/7's. Yes they are very good but if you focus fire with 2+ships they can be brought down fairly quickly.

That is simply not true.

 

The expected damage of 3 red dice + Focus + TL against a Defender with the Evade is 0.8. Against Defender with Focus+Evade it's a measly 0.3dmg.

 

For 4 red dice against Defender + Evade you get 0.44, for 4 red + Focus/TL it's 1.03 and 4 red + Focus+TL you get 1.64. So yes, a 4-attack ship with Focus and TL can bring them down very quickly, in 3-6 attacks...

But if the Defender used Focus, even 4 red + Focus+TL yields only 0.94 expected damage, so you need 6+ attacks. That's not "fairly quickly".

What does the math look like for every subsequent attack on the same Defender once you strip all the mods away? Yes 1 attack, even fully modified 4 dice, has trouble dealing damage. It's the second and third attacks that kill them. One on one is rough to push damage through but most players realize you have to combine fire. This goes back to the OP saying it's about who can position correctly to achieve their goals.

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The free evade is OK, but I wouldn't mind if it were worded such that blocking, rocks, or even stress could shut it down. That'd leave the hull intact, but reward better play from your opponents (and punish your own mistakes) better.

The easy way to make this change would be an errata that changes

After executing a 3-, 4-, or 5-speed maneuver, you may assign 1 evade token to your ship.

To

After executing a 3-, 4-, or 5-speed maneuver, you may perform an evade free action.

I'm not sure that nerf needs to happen, but others have proposed it. It would be a small reduction in power, but make them more vulnerable to counterplay.

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The most commonly used Defenders are Ryad. It's a safe bet she will PTL fairly often

Man, everyone loves PtL, but dat Predator is where it's really at. One EPT makes a huge difference in how to fly Defender aces.

 

Much as I like predator defenders for their flexibility, there is a reason commonwealth setup is flown more often and has enjoyed greater success at large tournaments. Predator has great things to love about it - you can use it regardless of the relative PS, you don't have to telegraph what you're gonna shoot at, you can adjust your target on the fly, it cannot be removed by Black One or Wes, nor passed on by Manaroo. It's independent of stress or bumps and it makes your defenders quite autonomous - losing one doesn't hurt quite so much as losing Ryad when you've built her to provide target locks to Vessery.  And most of the time a reroll of a single die is quite enough.

Until it isn't. Barring the simple case of bad luck with rolls, predator tends to fail in 2 cases:

1. You're at range 1, rolling 4 dice. Getting multiple blanks is quite likely in such a scenario.

2. You don't have a focus token. There are many reasons why that might be the case, but the most common ones are that you were forced to spend it on defense or you were forced to barrel roll to get a shot or to dodge one.

Obviously the problem is most pronounced when both of the above happen. You're in range 1, with a perfect opportunity to destroy something, but you had to barrel roll to get that shot, so no focus. And then you roll 4 dice and have to reroll all blanks and eyes, and you can only reroll a single die. Ouch.

Don't get me wrong, Predator defenders do have their advantages and in the long run these might even outweigh the advantages of the commonwealth setup. The main problem is that by it's very nature X-wing is a game where the outcome of most matches is decided in the few early rounds. This is because of the way defensive effects work in the game, which results in a non-linear loss of killing power once ships start to get destroyed. If defense in X-wing worked in a similar way to how it works in Armada for example, predator defenders might have an edge over commonwealth. Unfortunately it doesn't, and in the frantic early shootouts that all too often determine the outcome of X-wing games,  commonwealth defenders are more reliable and thus superior.

Edited by Lightrock

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The thing is, X-Wing at core ISN'T a game about outflying your opponent.  It's a game about outmodifying their dice.

Best way to outmodify dice? Make sure they don't use them. You outmaneuver someone, they don't get a shot or don't get an optimal shot. It's all about prospective.

 

 

true on both counts

 

best way to outmodify dice is ensure people don't get to throw any

 

also to abuse range such that you get better exchanges of dice depending on which ship you're flying

 

 

but, ultimately, if you cannot get past your opponent's dice your good flying doesn't amount to jack

 

which is why PWTs were utter bull until autothrusters, TLTs and crackshot allowed you to actually beat them in a dice trade

 

Fair, though I feel that there are a couple of offensive tricks that rely on out flying your opponent that deny dice, namely bombs and Autoblasters. Now, Autoblasters and some bombs do deal with red dice, but it seems the popular bombs don't roll dice and Autoblasters still only have their own dice to worry about.

PWTs are a case against pure outmaneuvering. Except for getting out of range, you can only hope for suboptimal shots, which is a form of dice modification.

 

 

Until Sabine came along. Bombs had math problems. Sabine doubles the damage output for some bombs and is still a big thing for others. 

 

 

 

Scum has a pretty good way to deal with x7's in a yv-666 or firespray with 4-Lom and homing missiles.

1. Fire the missiles, locks down their evade

2. 4-Lom their focus, at the cost of taking an ion

3. Defender rolls naked dice

4 ????

5. Profit?

As for rebels, focus fire, focus fire, focus fire

 

 

Scum can indeed kill a defender in the first turn of combat. A good amount of mindlink lists has chances to kill a defender in each fire exchange. Palob and even Teroch mess the whole efficiency of the X7 up. 

As for rebels: Regenerate, regenerate, steal tokens or bomb away or focus fire, etc 

 

A ship is only as long efficient as long no one takes away that efficiency. We have plenty of tools to mess with that, 4-LOM + Homing Missiles has been mentioned, people constantly complain about Zuckuss, and Stress-Stramm is the new stresshog, etc 

Edited by SEApocalypse

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Any builds or meta that encourage flying well are good for the health of the game IMO.

 

I disagree because:

1. free actions that can't be blocked and without a penalty make the game easier

2. it builds a meta that pushed out two-attack ships

 

The second point is more important. I've mentioned this in another thread before, but there are three kinds of tanky ships: Beefy (lots of hull+shield, low or no agility), mitigating (prevent damage through (free) actions) and regenerating (regen shields or shed damage). Unfortunately they are usually conflated.

 

The beefy and the regenerating tanks are no problem for any other ship - it's a race against time in the former, and a question of burst damage in the latter. But most ships could in theory win.

The third type, the damage mitigating tank, is a bigger problem as it renders some ships unable to destroy them. Defenders are just one example, but they are the most prominent one, which is why I bring it up.

 

I see three main contributors to the problem of Defenders:

1. The free evade of the x7 title. This allows the defenders to token up with focus+evade in every round. Together with their native 3 agility, you need a TL+focus 4 attack ship to get some damage through (0.94 expected damage).

2. The other stats of the defender: PS5-6 is not bad except against aces. 3/3/3/3 is phenomenal (in fact only 5 ships have 3atk/3agi, of which 2 die fast, 1 is the starviper and then brobots). Then we have white K-turns, which makes the defender the prime jouster. In all, the ship is either too cheap with the free evade, or well priced but should not get the evade.

3. The master of variance, Supreme Chancellor himself. He direly needs a range3,an action or some form of cost for his ability.

 

I agree with you in the sense that Defenders with x7 caused a lot of innovation and still do. But the general direction of damage mitigation for no cost is not good for the game because it pushes out two-attack ships and is almost an inherent fun-vampire for others.

 

Edit: quoted too much

I am replying on an iPhone so cant delete to the important bits. What is the biggest killer is that an /x7 can get bumped before completing a 3 speed manoeuvre, but it gets the evade because it says 3+ on the dial. Makes bumping them half useless as it should be.

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Until Sabine came along. Bombs had math problems. Sabine doubles the damage output for some bombs and is still a big thing for others. 

Agreed that Sabine makes bombs even better for Rebels, but the primary bomb I've seen used, Conner Nets, are still effective on their own.

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