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Hrathen

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

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I think the fundamental issue with x7s is the low skill floor combined with high performance. The x7 Defenders are not only good, they're good despite the pilot making mistakes. Bump a ship, run over a rock or debris, take stress from fire ... you still get that token, and at a point reduction to boot.

 

They're beatable, certainly, but shouldn't be essentially immune to player mistakes.

 

One simple fix: make the evade from x7 a free action, not a free token, and they come back into balance. They'll still be very good, but they can be countered, and if the player makes a mistake they still pay for it.

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Yeah, I have to agree. TIE defenders don't bother me as much as ye ole' Gunner + Predator. My opponent rolls 1 hit out of 4 dice. Then I watch helplessly as he rerolls it to a blank. "Heh, I get a second shot!" he exclaims. 4 hits. Ouch. Happened twice in one game. Everybody has something that irks them. We just have to find what we fear/despise the most, and make preparations to face those fears. This may involve switching what/how we fly for a season, but it's only one more season. Then you can go back to playing what you like after the harvest..er..next wave arrives.

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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.

 

As I wrote in my first post: I see the main problem that Defenders remove 2-attack-ships from the game.

 

The math gets a bit too complicated. E.g. there's a 42% chance that the defender can keep his focus against a 4red TL+Focus attack.

For two consecutive 3red, full token attacks against a full token defender:

14% chance that the defender keeps both -> 0.31 expected damage on second attack

32% chance that the defender keeps the evade -> 0.80 expected damage on second attack

44% chance that the defender keeps the focus -> 0.98 expected damage on second attack

So overall two consecutive attacks by a 3red dice ship has an expected damage of 0.31 from the first attack and 0.73 from the second.

 

If we are going to a third consecutive attack, and I think we can stop there because 4ship lists are not very common, it gets a bit more messy, but the gist of it is that the third attack is relatively likely to go against a tokenless defender. Which results in a whooping 1.7 expected damage. And this was with full-token focus+TL attackers in range 2 (or range1 for 2dice attacks). Also spending the focus on attack because it looks much worse if there is one of the two missing...

In the mean time we get of course counterattacks by the defenders.

 

So 3 attack ships have some problems, because they need great shots with full tokens. The 4 attack ships are of course better off.

 

But how many ships with 4 attack can you combine in a list?

If we look at the factions (maybe I forgot some):

- Empire has Whisper and soon the Upsilon, or , at range 1, Defenders, VT-49, Lambda Shuttle, some TIEs (Zeta, ...), Interceptors, Firespray, Advanced +Title, and soon the Striker.

- Rebels has the VCX-100, HLCDash, or, at range 1, X-Wing, T70, Attack shuttle, B-/E-Wing, Miranda-shield, U-Wing, YT1300 and ARC170.

- Scum has only range1 4 attack dice

Of course there are ways to increase the dice, e.g. Finn. Also secondary weapons made a comeback due to Defenders, which is a good thing.

 

This is percieved as unfair because Defenders don't have to fly outstandingly well for their performance - but it's necessary to outfly them to have a chance at beating them. It was mentioned before in this thread, Defenders have a low skill floor, and it's necessary to fly relatively better than the Defender player to win. In that way it's almost the definition of being imbalanced.

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x7 blocks one damage per turn on turns that you use a modestly limited set of maneuvers. It's certainly good, but it's hardly broken. The more shots you have, the less that extra token matters. Where the extra token is extra strong is agaisnt low ship count squads that can't put out the attacks needed to break through the tokens+hit points. Cry me a river.

The notion that x7 takes out 2-attacks ships makes no sense to me for the same reasons. It doesn't have excessive maneuverability or a turret, so it can't kite a swarm, and a swarm has so many attacks that the one extra evade isn't that big a deal. The Defender in general is great agaisnt swarms, but I actually think the D or title-less HLC is better than x7 in that regard. You start taking bodies off the table a lot faster and fight better from long range where the swarm's weapons are poor.

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x7 blocks one damage per turn on turns that you use a modestly limited set of maneuvers. It's certainly good, but it's hardly broken. The more shots you have, the less that extra token matters. Where the extra token is extra strong is agaisnt low ship count squads that can't put out the attacks needed to break through the tokens+hit points. Cry me a river.

The notion that x7 takes out 2-attacks ships makes no sense to me for the same reasons. It doesn't have excessive maneuverability or a turret, so it can't kite a swarm, and a swarm has so many attacks that the one extra evade isn't that big a deal. The Defender in general is great agaisnt swarms, but I actually think the D or title-less HLC is better than x7 in that regard. You start taking bodies off the table a lot faster and fight better from long range where the swarm's weapons are poor.

 

It's not about the offense of swarms, so your remark about /D or HLC is irrelevant.

Instead the question is if 2attack ships can harm Defenders/x7. And the math is unambiguous:

 

Expected damage:

2 Red vs 3 Green, unmodified: 0.35

2 Red + Focus or TL vs 3 Green: 0.61

2 Red + Focus + TL vs 3 Green: 0.84

And those have a naked Defender

 

2 Red vs 3 Green+Evade: 0.06

2 Red vs 3 Green+Focus: 0.11

2 Red + Focus or TL vs 3 Green + Evade: 0.13

2 Red + Focus or TL vs 3 Green + Focus: 0.22

2 Red + Focus or TL vs 3 Green + Evade + Focus: 0.02

2 Red + Focus + TL vs 3 Green + Evade: 0.21

2 Red + Focus + TL vs 3 Green + Focus: 0.33

2 Red + Focus + TL vs 3 Green + Evade + Focus: 0.046

 

Or in short: you won't damage the Defender. And there is a ~50% chance that the defender won't use one of the tokens, and ~25% chance that he will use neither.

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Whisper + gunner + fcs eats Defenders like cookies

RAC+Hotshot Pilot+Gunner

and/or

Echo should eat them alive as well.

RAC+Hotshot+Gunner+Kylo Ren shuts down basically one defender without trouble.

And I can not wait to use Rac+Predator+Hotshot+Gunner+Kylo+EU together with Calculation x7 Stele. Dealing faceup cards had never been that easy. ^_^

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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.

 

As I wrote in my first post: I see the main problem that Defenders remove 2-attack-ships from the game.

 

The math gets a bit too complicated. E.g. there's a 42% chance that the defender can keep his focus against a 4red TL+Focus attack.

For two consecutive 3red, full token attacks against a full token defender:

14% chance that the defender keeps both -> 0.31 expected damage on second attack

32% chance that the defender keeps the evade -> 0.80 expected damage on second attack

44% chance that the defender keeps the focus -> 0.98 expected damage on second attack

So overall two consecutive attacks by a 3red dice ship has an expected damage of 0.31 from the first attack and 0.73 from the second.

 

If we are going to a third consecutive attack, and I think we can stop there because 4ship lists are not very common, it gets a bit more messy, but the gist of it is that the third attack is relatively likely to go against a tokenless defender. Which results in a whooping 1.7 expected damage. And this was with full-token focus+TL attackers in range 2 (or range1 for 2dice attacks). Also spending the focus on attack because it looks much worse if there is one of the two missing...

In the mean time we get of course counterattacks by the defenders.

 

So 3 attack ships have some problems, because they need great shots with full tokens. The 4 attack ships are of course better off.

 

But how many ships with 4 attack can you combine in a list?

If we look at the factions (maybe I forgot some):

- Empire has Whisper and soon the Upsilon, or , at range 1, Defenders, VT-49, Lambda Shuttle, some TIEs (Zeta, ...), Interceptors, Firespray, Advanced +Title, and soon the Striker.

- Rebels has the VCX-100, HLCDash, or, at range 1, X-Wing, T70, Attack shuttle, B-/E-Wing, Miranda-shield, U-Wing, YT1300 and ARC170.

- Scum has only range1 4 attack dice

Of course there are ways to increase the dice, e.g. Finn. Also secondary weapons made a comeback due to Defenders, which is a good thing.

 

This is percieved as unfair because Defenders don't have to fly outstandingly well for their performance - but it's necessary to outfly them to have a chance at beating them. It was mentioned before in this thread, Defenders have a low skill floor, and it's necessary to fly relatively better than the Defender player to win. In that way it's almost the definition of being imbalanced.

 

 

 

Kudos

 

 

But never tell me the odds...

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x7 blocks one damage per turn on turns that you use a modestly limited set of maneuvers. It's certainly good, but it's hardly broken. The more shots you have, the less that extra token matters. Where the extra token is extra strong is agaisnt low ship count squads that can't put out the attacks needed to break through the tokens+hit points. Cry me a river.

The notion that x7 takes out 2-attacks ships makes no sense to me for the same reasons. It doesn't have excessive maneuverability or a turret, so it can't kite a swarm, and a swarm has so many attacks that the one extra evade isn't that big a deal. The Defender in general is great agaisnt swarms, but I actually think the D or title-less HLC is better than x7 in that regard. You start taking bodies off the table a lot faster and fight better from long range where the swarm's weapons are poor.

It's not about the offense of swarms, so your remark about /D or HLC is irrelevant.

Instead the question is if 2attack ships can harm Defenders/x7. And the math is unambiguous:

Expected damage:

2 Red vs 3 Green, unmodified: 0.35

2 Red + Focus or TL vs 3 Green: 0.61

2 Red + Focus + TL vs 3 Green: 0.84

And those have a naked Defender

2 Red vs 3 Green+Evade: 0.06

2 Red vs 3 Green+Focus: 0.11

2 Red + Focus or TL vs 3 Green + Evade: 0.13

2 Red + Focus or TL vs 3 Green + Focus: 0.22

2 Red + Focus or TL vs 3 Green + Evade + Focus: 0.02

2 Red + Focus + TL vs 3 Green + Evade: 0.21

2 Red + Focus + TL vs 3 Green + Focus: 0.33

2 Red + Focus + TL vs 3 Green + Evade + Focus: 0.046

Or in short: you won't damage the Defender. And there is a ~50% chance that the defender won't use one of the tokens, and ~25% chance that he will use neither.

What, you've only got one attack? Those tokens don't get to be used on every attack. Comparing one attack in a swarm agaisnt a Defender is obviously going to favor the Defender hugely. It doesn't take math to figure that out. Edited by Biophysical

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Which is why you should reread my last line - which had an error by the way, it's even worse.
Chances for an attack with Focus+TL are 56% and 71% for Focus and Evade to keep them. So roughly 40% to keep both - which is huge!

 

Attack with Focus or TL is of course worse, 66% and 80% to keep either, and 52% to keep both.

 

So there you go. A swarm needs to pull all kinds of tricks.

 

And inbefore Crackshot:

2 red + Focus + TL + Crackshot vs 3 green + Focus + Evade: 0.33 expected damage (71% chance to miss) and 56% and 17% chance to keep Focus or Evade, respectively.

 

7 TIE swarms might be lucky and pop one defender by expending all their ressources. But the rest of the game will be onesided.

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I actually agree that the rest of the game will be one-sided, but principally not because of extra evade token, but because of the native stats and dial, which let them tear up swarms, Evade token or not. If x7 didn't grant an extra evade token, a triple Defender squad would still be very strong agaisnt swarms. Not quite as strong, obviously, but plenty strong enough to win.

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Without going down the rabbit hole of debate, I would be satisfied if X7 did not proc an evade token when stressed or unable to complete the maneuver. The way it is now, you cannot keep that evade from happening. 2-die swarms would have a chance if you could block it away.

Just my opinion.

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It's not about the offense of swarms, so your remark about /D or HLC is irrelevant.

Yeah Chief, you may uh.... may want to rethink who you say that to.

Yes, it's of course a typo.

Offense ON swarms, as in 'against' them. Should have been clear from the context as I'm talking about damage mitigation all this time.

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It's not about the offense of swarms, so your remark about /D or HLC is irrelevant.

Yeah Chief, you may uh.... may want to rethink who you say that to.

Yes, it's of course a typo.

Offense ON swarms, as in 'against' them. Should have been clear from the context as I'm talking about damage mitigation all this time.

 

Thanks for the correction, but not really what I meant. Judging by your post count you haven't been here long (either that or you just really really decided to lurk until now) so you may be unaware of this, but if Bio is known for only one thing, its his thorough knowledge of the Defender. He writes threads and articles about them, has been flying and advocating for their use for ages, and has starred in numerous podcasts to discuss them. Calling any input he has on them "irrelevant" is a good way to make people not take your opinion seriously. Just thought you should know that.

 

On a more general note, I honestly think it's funny that the Defender was panned as DOA for ages. The high cost was one problem (you pay nearly as much for a PS 1 ship that relied on green dice as you would pay for a pilot like Ten Numb). But now that it has received a title that, let's face it, makes the ship into the anti-starfighter terror it was always designed to be, people just complain about how strong it is. In all my games with, against, or observing Defenders both pre and post Imperial Veterans, their biggest weaknesses are the same ones that most Imperial Aces are: focused fire and bad luck. This game has been finding ways to exploit both of those since Soontir Fel and PtL hit the table. So yeah, to echo a statement expressed earlier in this thread, yeah sure your Corran/Dash netlist doesn't push enough damage through with its 2.5 attacks per round. Boo freakin' hoo. I've seen two Blue Squadron Bs with HLC and FCS rip an x7 to pieces in two rounds just by controlling their approach with a modicum of forethought (they both opened up at R3, then one moved aggressively to block and the other took his R1, focused, TLed attack) and that was only a portion of their list.

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I was quite happy about the new defender titles since it's a cool ship that rarely saw play. Problem is that FFG went a bit to far in one direction once again. The cannon title is the cool one IMO, since it can shoot both ion cannon or tractor beam the same time as primary like the defender should, just check delta squad art. It made it worth paying the defenders high cost + a cannon.

 

Sadly the math of x7 made it far far more point efficient so it became the staple one since it's just so effective and hard to counter. I wanted to see more defenders and some say when I complain that I got what I wanted. But I didn't get the scary preying cannon defenders I got these cheesy tanky ones that are so efficient that they work when you take as many as you can in a list. This was the same problem with wolfpack. Sure it made ordnance work but too such an extreme that one of the best lists was to take as many of them as possible. This is a problem with crack shot and TLT as well, they are so efficient that they should be limited since it's more about the uppgrade than the actual ship. They can all be beat but it forces alot of lists/ships and not highly compedetive players out of the tournament scene even on low lever tournaments.

Where are the cool cannon defenders, contracted scouts, non stresshog BTL-A4 Y-wings (or bomb y-wings) and not crack shot ties these days?

Sure this is purely a compedetive issue and yes bring your best and I will bring my best. I do however think that when a minature game or any game starting to reach balance issues is when you can find the most powerful unit/uppgrade/thing and spam then in a list and that works to the top tables. i guess I just want some more flavour to the compedetive scene.

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Thanks for the correction, but not really what I meant. Judging by your post count you haven't been here long (either that or you just really really decided to lurk until now) so you may be unaware of this, but if Bio is known for only one thing, its his thorough knowledge of the Defender. He writes threads and articles about them, has been flying and advocating for their use for ages, and has starred in numerous podcasts to discuss them. Calling any input he has on them "irrelevant" is a good way to make people not take your opinion seriously. Just thought you should know that.

 

Thanks for the heads up. I recognized the name from the Mynock podcast, but I didn't know in what context. I didn't want to come off as rude. English is not my native language and my vocabulary is limited, so I might use expressions that sound way harsher than intended.

 

Biophysical wrote: "The notion that x7 takes out 2-attacks ships makes no sense to me for the same reasons."

But I meant to "take out" of the meta game, not to destroy them. I thought that was clear from my other phrasing like "a meta that pushed out two-attack ships" or "Defenders remove 2-attack-ships from the game."

 

So I think we just misunderstood each other. Because otherwise his HLC comment still doesn't make sense to me. But it's all good as far as I'm concerned.

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So I think we just misunderstood each other. Because otherwise his HLC comment still doesn't make sense to me. But it's all good as far as I'm concerned.

 

As a counterpoint to your argument of the strength of the x7 vs. swarms of two attack die ships, he's saying that the x7 actually fares worse when compared to a Defender with no title and a Heavy Laser Cannon because the HLC Defender plays by using slow maneuvers to stay at long range where it gets to roll 4 dice with no defense die added, whereas the swarm is firing 2 attack die into the Defender's 4 defense dice. Meanwhile the x7 must take fast maneuvers and will therefor end up closer to the swarm earlier. Chances are that by then, the x7 will not have managed a kill yet either, so it will have at least one turn taking most if not all of the swarm's attacks before the range is appropriate to k-turn around the swarm.

 

At least, I'm pretty sure this is what he means...

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I interpreted no rudeness in any of CptArgonaut's comments. Regardless, neither I nor any one else deserve any special deference for any quantity of X-wing fame we have accumulated.

What I was trying to say initially was that the extra Evade token from x7 isn't really a deal breaker. It maybe helps you survive an extra attack at times, but it's secondary to the other advantages of defenders. My HLC comment was attempting to make the point that I think that overall build is just as strong or stronger than x7 agaisnt swarms (because if you're concerned about the validity of 2-attack ships, you're concerned about the validity of swarms). The point being I don't think it's the x7 title with its extra Evade that's the problem for 2-attack ships.

The real problem swarms face is Dengaroo, and other builds that put up consistent defense from every single attack. Defenders are good agaisnt swarms, but it's for a whole host of reasons that the Evade token is but one modest part of.

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Some good discussion here. Kudos to CptArgonaut for some stellar analysis.

 

To anyone who truly feels like x7 is not an issue, I ask you to try to do this-

Create a top tier competitive Imperial list that does not include x7, which is not neutering itself by not having an x7 on the board.

 

You may be able to have 1 or 2 niche cases that are largely built around player skill (i.e. RAC Echo), but these cases are few and far between. Imperials are dominated by x7 across the board, and I feel for the Imperial players who enjoy both competitive play and list building.

 

Whether it is nerfing x7 or building up the rest of the Imperial forces to measure up to where x7 has pushed the power curve, something needs to be done if we are to ever expect Imperials to have an identity beyond x7 Defenders from this point on.

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Personally, I believe the Tie/x7 title should be errata'd to only work on speed FOUR and above.  Speed 3 and above allows for too much versatility.  Speed 4 and above solidifies its role as a jouster that excels in attacking in a straight line since there are no turns or banks at those speeds.  Seriously, it's all good if it's a badass jouster, but it's too good too often for minimal downsides.

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