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TIE strikers at Store Championships [picture heavy]

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I'm relatively new to flying in formation, as I never flew regular Ties in 1.0 much.  Now I've had some experience with regular Tie swarms and FO Ties.  Of course, the Strikers are an even different animal with the Ailerons.  My feeling is that in most cases it's still best to fly together and hit something hard at once.  Then you can potentially drop multiple bombs as well, although I'm still not sold on bombs. I'm curious about the idea of Hull/Shield upgrades at this point, so I might try out 5 Sentinels with a Shield Upgrade (200 pts).  

The (possibly) exciting thing I just realized today is that should the Strikers even drop one point when the points change in a few days, you'll be able to fly SIX Strikers at once.  I think this is doubtful, although they haven't been performing great and the re-release is coming in the next wave.  If they wanted to push Strikers, especially in Hyperspace and give Imperials an interesting option for that format, this might be a good time to drop them down a point and see what happens.

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On ‎1‎/‎24‎/‎2019 at 1:51 PM, dadocollin said:

The (possibly) exciting thing I just realized today is that should the Strikers even drop one point when the points change in a few days, you'll be able to fly SIX Strikers at once.  I think this is doubtful, although they haven't been performing great and the re-release is coming in the next wave.  If they wanted to push Strikers, especially in Hyperspace and give Imperials an interesting option for that format, this might be a good time to drop them down a point and see what happens.

Well, the new costs are up.

Stuff which matters to strikers:

  • TIE Striker Pilots have remained the same cost. Shield & Hull upgrades, and bombs and mines (and skilled bombardier), remain the same cost. Ruthless, Crack Shot and Elusive remain as before.
  • Fifth Brother (Gunner) is now only 9 points, making him a much more appealing option for a Striker ace.
  • Afterburners are now 6 points, meaning 5 planetary sentinels can now take either proximity mines, shield upgrades, or afterburners depending on your preferred enhancement to the heavy swarm.
  • Juke, Trick Shot and Lone Wolf all went up a point if you were considering them. I doubt a striker squad would want squad leader (since you can pack a Tactical Officer reaper if you desperately want co-ordinate) but if you do it's gone up enormously in cost for anyone with initiative 2 or more.

Given that the TIE/sk's big weakness compared to it's closest cousin (the TIE interceptor) is it's lack of speed in a straight run, access to afterburners on a quintet of generics is a big deal, and Duchess with Fifth Brother, Elusive and Afterburners has to 60 points on the nose - meaning she fits within a 60 point allowance for many-on-many Furball games. Initiative 5 with potential stress-ignoring double-boost and the force is, as they say, one heck of a pilot.

Stuff which matters to Reapers:

  • Modifications remain at cost, as does tactical officer, death troopers, ISB slicer, Sloane, Vader and Ciena Ree.
  • Krennic/Tarkin as a combination has gotten cheaper (Tarkin is now only 6 points), meaning a lock-generating reaper and 4 strikers now fits
  • The Emperor is cheaper, at 11 points instead of 13.
  • Juke is more expensive, messing with Vermeil a bit.
Edited by Magnus Grendel

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On ‎1‎/‎24‎/‎2019 at 1:51 PM, dadocollin said:

I'm relatively new to flying in formation, as I never flew regular Ties in 1.0 much.  Now I've had some experience with regular Tie swarms and FO Ties.  Of course, the Strikers are an even different animal with the Ailerons.  My feeling is that in most cases it's still best to fly together and hit something hard at once.  Then you can potentially drop multiple bombs as well, although I'm still not sold on bombs. I'm curious about the idea of Hull/Shield upgrades at this point, so I might try out 5 Sentinels with a Shield Upgrade (200 pts).  

You do need to concentrate fire - your biggest advantage with a 5-ship list is to be able to smack someone with a 3-dice focused attack; after they've spent their focus token, force charge, elusive charge, and any other once-per-turn rubbish you've still got ships left shooting. However, 'keep together' doesn't mean in a tight range 1 'block' - I tend to try and form a 'firing line' arcing around the opponent - you want to concentrate arcs of fire, not ships. If you spread out too much you can't all close simultaneously but if the ships are all within, say, range 2 of each other you can create a 'kill-box' where rolling or boosting to dodge the arc of one ship tends to put another into range 1, and reinforce or Vennie's ability becomes less valuable because at least some ships are on your flank or in your blind spot and hitting you for full damage.

Shields are nice and simple. I want to try afterburners too.

Bombs....I think seismics are a nice option for aces - they're cheap and flexible, and good insurance against Dash, Blackout, Mining Guild Swarms and so on. Proximity Mines/Conner Nets seem funny to field en masse as well - since (unlike a bomber or punisher) you can't reload, logic says go for the devices no-one can reload anyway and ion tokens are great when you have striker-esque manoeuvrability. Proton Bombs are nice and scary, though, and pattern-dropping them could be really scary in a head-on pass, since your opponent has to avoid a 'belt' of range 1 proton detonations which can feasibly wreck a crippled ship.

 

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A local has been running Duchess + Fifth Brother + Predator a lot, and had moderate success. The addition of Afterburners for roughly the same price will definitely help. It's a ship I really want to try more of. The problem is that a bid really helps to let Duchess move after opposing I5's, and I hate bidding.

As for formation flying, I like what has been said already. I'll add that one of the reasons I avoid tight formations with strikers is to give flexibility to the Ailerons maneuver, so they can switch it up and go different directions than you anticipated the previous round. I also like having a 1 or 2 "flanking" ships, not in the traditional sense of flanking, but just so they are in position to pursue the enemy without becoming stressed, keeping a higher number of focus tokens on the table. I'm at about a 40% success rate with this tactic, because I either fail to get all of them engaged, or the enemy moves in such a way that all my ships have the same bearing and have to K-turn or S-loop next turn anyway.

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19 hours ago, Arkanta974 said:

Duchess with Juke and Fifth Brother is a really nice ace for 56 pts ! I enjoy her during two games who she really shine (and hot dice)

16 hours ago, Parakitor said:

A local has been running Duchess + Fifth Brother + Predator a lot, and had moderate success.

Juke depends largely on what else is in the squad, I think - Juke relatively rarely adds damage to the attack it's used on in my experience but is great for stripping tokens for the next attack.

Predator, by comparison, makes Duchess more offensively self-sufficient - Predator and Ruthless are both good options for a striker simply because they normally can't do anything with blank red dice, and with her extreme ability to 'fettle' her final position, lining up a bullseye is easier for her than for many other ships.

Ruthless/Fifth Brother might be good on Pure Sabbac, for that matter. Theoretically that lets you take a shield upgrade and evade all the time, and still have a credible chance of landing a 4-hit attack.

16 hours ago, Parakitor said:

I also like having a 1 or 2 "flanking" ships, not in the traditional sense of flanking, but just so they are in position to pursue the enemy without becoming stressed, keeping a higher number of focus tokens on the table. I'm at about a 40% success rate with this tactic, because I either fail to get all of them engaged, or the enemy moves in such a way that all my ships have the same bearing and have to K-turn or S-loop next turn anyway.

It's a good point, though. If you can come in from - say - a 45' angle, bank/speed 1 turn lets you drop onto someone's tail without needing a red move. That's a huge increase in the effectiveness of those ships, and another reason to try and engage in an 'arc' surrounding your target rather than just coming in in a tight mass like TIE fighters would.

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How many copies of Afterburners do you own? I am under no illusion that I need to buy a bunch - I can just borrow them. But I anticipate most players have only 1 or 2. The quickbuild-esque card is nice!

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5 hours ago, Parakitor said:

How many copies of Afterburners do you own? I am under no illusion that I need to buy a bunch - I can just borrow them. But I anticipate most players have only 1 or 2. The quickbuild-esque card is nice!

Just the one - again, I'm sure I can borrow them, but I prefer not relying on other people's stuff. If I decide I really like 'burner strikers rather than shield or mine strikers, well....fangs have been looking interesting as the first scum squad I've ever seriously considered.

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I had a chance to fly against the 5x Striker, 5x Proximity Mine list.  I was flying 3x Fang Aces.  It was a fun match.  Being surprised with Fenn Rau getting 3 damage instantly caused those mines to really mess with my decision making.  There were times when I might have boost-banked in to get a shot, but if I did, I'd be Proxy'd the next round.  So I had to barrel roll away.  Lots of awkward 1-hards knowing mines were coming.  The strikers didn't win in the end, but it was a cool match.

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On ‎2‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 11:46 PM, theBitterFig said:

I had a chance to fly against the 5x Striker, 5x Proximity Mine list.  I was flying 3x Fang Aces.  It was a fun match.  Being surprised with Fenn Rau getting 3 damage instantly caused those mines to really mess with my decision making.  There were times when I might have boost-banked in to get a shot, but if I did, I'd be Proxy'd the next round.  So I had to barrel roll away.  Lots of awkward 1-hards knowing mines were coming.  The strikers didn't win in the end, but it was a cool match.

Glad to hear it! Mines, Shields and Afterburners look like they'll all offer very different experiences to fly, and I'm looking forward to trying all of them...

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On 2/11/2019 at 4:04 AM, Magnus Grendel said:

Just a heads-up: Mel Miniatures on Shapeways is doing a very nice 3d print version of Griff Halloran's TIE Ugly Racer, Black Ace, from Resistance:

resistance-db-griff-main-image_a9d2d6cc.

resistance-db-black-ace-racer-main-image

710x528_25095909_13674206_1538823331.jpg

 

That's pretty.  Probably would be even more pretty if it wasn't painted like a Holstein cow, too.

Edited by theBitterFig

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Have you guys come across any strong 3 Striker lists? My initial thoughts are the three aces with Vermeil perhaps? Of course, the other option is to buy more Strikers! 

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I played a list with Vermeil and the 3 named strikers and it's pretty decent. Really fast and hard to predict for your opponent. But also fragile with those 2 dices.

It was Vermeil + Juke, Duchess + Predator, Countdown + hull upgrade and crackshot, Pure Sabacc + shield upgrade and predator.

Edited by Ximatique

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3 hours ago, Smudger13 said:

Have you guys come across any strong 3 Striker lists? My initial thoughts are the three aces with Vermeil perhaps? Of course, the other option is to buy more Strikers! 

I'm not one to promote "high initiative or bust," but my only problem with the 3 named strikers + reaper is that it seems to do well unless the opponent goes all in on initiative 5/6 ships. It then becomes easy for them to initiative kill your ships and I don't quite feel I have the numbers to handle it. I know I need to improve my flying, so maybe that will be enough.

Just like @Ximatique has in his squad above, I feel hull and shield upgrade are really good investments on named strikers. It's the best defense against getting initiative killed, and is affordable on a 2-agility ship.

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On 2/19/2019 at 3:38 PM, Parakitor said:

Just like @Ximatique has in his squad above, I feel hull and shield upgrade are really good investments on named strikers. It's the best defense against getting initiative killed, and is affordable on a 2-agility ship.

And in Pure Sabbac's case, keeps that extra red die rolling longer.

 

Well, I had my first two 2.0 games with a full 5-ship striker squadron. 

Game One

5 Planetary Sentinels (Afterburners)

vs

  • "Blackout", Trick Shot, Proton Torpedoes, Pattern Analyser
  • "Quickdraw", Elusive, Fire Control System, Special Forces Gunner, Shield Upgrade
  • "Midnight", Fanatical

 

  • It went very well - I got a lot of luck with the dice, but more than anything the speed of the TIE/sk was stunning. I deployed in the bottom left corner, facing into the board in a long line, whilst my opponent deployed on his board edge - Blackout facing into the board to move into the rocks, the two TIE fighters heading left along the top board edge. 
  • Two turns later, Blackout had TIE strikers coming at him from both sides in the middle of the board, and only got away because I went too fast on the approach and a speed 5 straight/boost/roll let him slip the net.  Unfortunately, that left him stressed, and the strikers were able to bank/turn in pursuit.
  • Quickdraw did Quickdraw things, but came apart a turn later as the strikers kill-boxed her.  Midnight lasted a bit longer but when asked to face off against multiple opponents, Omega Leader's "I can only lock one of them at once" problem came to the fore.

Major Lessons

  • The ability of an aileron move, speed 3 bank and free boost to cover ground is insane. 
  • It seems to be mostly an advantage for the initial engagement. Because the striker has only straights and banks at speed 3, once the fighting starts a high-speed move is only really useful for breaking off or pursuing, and since you move first, it's already likely to catch up to the target you're chasing. Without a speed 3 turn, koiogran or segnor, it's not that great in a knife fight. 
  • The same rule as with 1.0 strikers - don't go too fast! - still applies. Two of the strikers only got to where they needed to be because of afterburners, but if I'd held off on boosting with the others then I might have been able to get shots on Blackout a turn early (or if they'd bank-turned, I guess, but I wasn't sure where the silencer was going - and in the end if turned out to be closing on where two of the strikers had been when its dial was set.... only to find that they were now sat at about seven o-clock on its tail....
  • Remember the whole "bonus attacks" limit - Quickdraw is scary but if she goes 'john woo' mode and fires fore-and-aft shots with specfor gunner, she essentially shuts down her ability to fire a free shot when she looses a shield.  

 

Game Two

5 Planetary Sentinels (Afterburners)

vs

  • Darth Vader, Hate, Fire Control System, Proton Rockets (Optimised Prototype)
  • Seyn Marana, Marksmanship
  • Del Meeko, Elusive
  • Captain Feroph, Elusive, Director Krennic, Tactical Officer

 

  • I lost this one, but it was closer than I thought it was going to be.
  • This is perhaps a game where shields would have done me more good than afterburners, but I still managed to shock my opponent with the speed of the pounce.
  • I got too bloody fancy thinking I was going to block the TIE fighters and kill Meeko before things got messy, and ended up leaving one TIE/sk pointing the wrong way and not shooting.
  • Del Meeko took an inordinate amount of time to die - surviving over half a dozen - maybe nearly a dozen - attacks before finally  dying. 
  • Seyn, by comparison, exploded in a single range 1 shot after she rolled into a head-on pass to try and get a bullseye.
  • We eventually called time with a  single 1-hit striker left alive versus a shieldless Vader

52688530_2588533604507026_54754578735573

Major Lessons

  • I think I did the right thing going for Meeko, but other opinions are welcome.
    • My view was: Meeko's ability doesn't make Feroph detectably tougher but neither is the reaper a primary threat; yes it has co-ordinate but Vader doesn't need co-ordinating and if the TIEs are a major threat then kill them first, not their almost-perma-reinforced-8-hit-point support ship.
  • Meeko's ability is insanely good in the hands of someone naturally lucky with evade dice. 
  • Don't get clever and try and block other small ships when you don't need to. Even if the TIE fighters HAD piled into the blocking striker and been left tokenless, Feroph could have co-ordinated them a token, and a fifth focused 3-dice attack from an undamaged attacker would have likely done just as much good and frankly probably more. 
  • HateVader isn't actually that manoeuvrable. Hate does make him annoyingly tough, though, and I suspect trying to engage him whilst Meeko was still on the board would have been doomed to failure.
  • Seyn's ability is awesome but against a relatively low agility, shieldless defender it's not that terrifying. 
  • My opponent deployed spread out along about 1/3 of his board edge on the opposite side to the striker's deployment (formed in a W formation in my bottom right). Given their speed, if I'd stayed together I could arguably have been on Feroph before the fighters turned in in support - I'm not convinced 5 strikers could have killed the reaper in a single pass, but they could definitely have shot some big holes in it before the fight proper started, and whilst it was arguably the least important unit, a kill is a kill and in a 4-ship list losing a medium ship in the first turn or two is a big deal. Where an opponent deploys in a line, consider using the striker's speed to try to pounce on the unit on the end of the line, not fixate on a target in the centre. 
  • Criticals don't feel as horrific as I was expecting. "You can only perform focus actions or damage control", for example, is almost a non-event for a striker because I was probably going to focus anyway. The fact that the stress critical double-stresses you is painful, though. 
    • On the list to try for a heavy swarm is 5 Tempest Squadron Pilots with Fire Control Systems. Much less manoeuvrable than the striker, and more finicky with the need to lock your target, but a heck of a lot tougher, and massed automatic criticals are likely to be very painful for bigger ships or unshielded swarms. 

 

 

Ultimately, the striker swarm works.

Shield upgrades make them pretty much as they were - squirrelly and refreshingly tough for their cost. I've played a swarm with hull upgrades and they were good enough, but getting the ability to shrug off the criticals from proton bombs (for example) is priceless. 

Afterburners give you a lot more control of the initial engagement than your opponent expects. I'm still shocked how fast they were, and both opponents basically had their brains leaking out of their ears (there's something extremely satisfying about watching an initiative 5 TIE Silencer go "Where the bloody heck did he go? Wait....he's behind me?"). BUT, actually getting your 30 points worth of value out of the upgrades means translating that positional advantage into a great opening engagement, which in both games I kind of screwed up. 

I do need to try bomb-armed strikers too. You end up in a close-quarter bump-fest quite often with a swarm, and being able to kick proton bombs out the back when you do could in theory really mess with opponents who aren't as elusive as the TIE/sk.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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On Saturday I went to my second X-wing tournament since Second Edition (the first was a Battle of Yavin event). It was a Hyperspace event at GMI Games, and we had 10 people in attendance. My list:

3x Planetary Sentinel
“Duchess” (Predator)
Captain Feroph (Death Troopers)
TOTAL 199

I like having 5 ships, and I like having a shuttle to offset the relative frailty of the strikers. I recently changed to having “Duchess” so that I had some initiative advantage in some situations. I toyed with the idea of putting Marksmanship on Captain Feroph but I thought a 1 point bid would be valuable more often.

Round 1
Darth Vader (Fire-Control System)
“Pure Sabacc”
Gideon Hask
Major Vermeil (Death Troopers)
TOTAL 196

40234350753_fe3ccc74a9_c.jpg

Well, I didn’t win the bid, but we had no overlapping initiatives, so he just took Player 1. The match was brutal and a bit swingy. My opponent had been using the TIE Advanced v1 dial, which didn’t become apparent until he tried to clear stress with a speed-1 turn maneuver. Since that was an illegal move, he performed a white speed-2 straight, keeping his stress. Captain Feroph was blocked by one of my own strikers, causing “Pure Sabacc” to overlap Feroph and lose his action. Captain Feroph and “Pure Sabacc” both went down that round.

47149903092_bb1a8a8ca9_c.jpg

I had the best plan. I dialed in a 1-straight with “Duchess” knowing that Vader had to clear stress, and I could turn off my Ailerons to have him at point-blank range. But then Gideon did a speed-3 Koiogran Turn, and I realized that I could bank with Ailerons and flank Gideon. I did so, completely forgetting about Vader, who dialed in a 1-bank, and attacked “Duchess” at range 1. He got 2 hits 2 crits, I got 2 evades. I was feeling pretty good – except the crits were Fuel Leak and Direct Hit! Poof! And that’s how you lose your ace in one bad decision. Vader followed up with a Tallon Roll, landing right in our kill box, and we got him. Gideon fell soon after.

The round finished with 3 Planetary Sentinels hunting down Major Vermeil, which we did without any further losses.

Win 200-114

Round 2
Poe Dameron (Integrated S-foils, Pattern Analyzer, Heroic, R4 Astromech)
Ello Asty (Integrated S-foils, R4 Astromech???)
Nien Nunb (Integrated S-foils, Daredevil, Pattern Analyzer)
TOTAL 199

I’m pretty sure either Ello or Nien had an R4 Astromech. Anyway, I had heard that T-70s were legit, so this one kind of scared me. We set up in the bottom left, and he set up opposite in the top right. There was a relatively open area in the middle where we converged. Ello got stressed, and couldn’t remove the stress next round due to the Death Troopers, which was cute, but I don’t know how helpful because his Tallon Rolls would have been blocked in anyway. I suppose it prevented him from a K-turn...or maybe we destroyed him before it even mattered that he was still stressed.

T-70’s can really move, but we had some luck with the dice to hang on long enough to take out Ello, then Poe, and finally Nien Nunb. This game felt like I was on auto pilot. I planned what I felt were the best maneuvers, and my opponent ended up right in my sights, so I got a lot of shots, but it felt like I had a lot of lucky guesses. Except “Duchess.”

P.S. I love “Duchess’s” ability.

P.P.S. Heroic worked for Poe, rerolling a double blank into Evade-Focus, for which he spent his focus token on defense.

33323531798_831775703c_c.jpg
(In the photo above, Ello was right behind Striker #3, and performed a speed-3 turn, followed by boost. If he hadn't done the boost, "Duchess" would have turned off her Adaptive Ailerons, but the boost was perfect to allow for two consecutive 1-straights).

Win 200-87

Round 3
Vennie (Rose Tico, Finn, Veteran Turret Gunner, Fire-Control System, Hull Upgrade)
Ello Asty (Heroic, Integrated S-foils)
L’ulo L’ampar (Heroic, Pattern Analyzer)
TOTAL 193

I am pretty sure he was at 195, so I don’t know what I’m missing from his list. My opponent talked excitedly about this squad the night before, so I was a little apprehensive. Fortunately, I had a good opening exchange at range 3 where I took no damage and chipped away at L’ulo. Next round, all of my ships were able to attack the Star Fortress, but first we finished off L’ulo. After a second round of firing on Vennie, he had 1 hull left, and “Duchess” and Captain Feroph were facing the wrong way, meaning he would be able to get a shot on one or two of my Planetary Sentinels. Turns out his Hull Upgrade was well worth it. Fortunately, Console Fire killed him first (although I just read in the errata that ships destroyed "before you engage," still get to attack because you have now moved into that initiative, and ships aren’t removed until they get to shoot, so oops).

After that, we hunted down Ello.

47198988311_6f4485c336_c.jpg

Win 200-78 (This is judging from the picture above. I seem to remember him getting more points than that).

Round 4
Han Solo (Trick Shot, Hotshot Gunner, R2-D2)
Lando Calrissian (Trick Shot, Hotshot Gunner, Nien Nunb, Millennium Falcon)

TOTAL 199

46284639245_8aea29784f_c.jpg

I was feeling pretty confident. Okay, maybe over confident. See, I set up my asteroids in a tight cluster at the bottom to prevent Trick Shot, and I told myself NOT to enter that field under any circumstances. Well, I let myself get drawn in, took 3 crits from debris, and lost actions left and right. It was a disaster. I should have flown all the way to his side of the board and regrouped. Sigh. It would have been a very different game.

47198985351_f2962103ce_c.jpg

40234346363_4e038f4222_c.jpg
(A common occurrence this game. I really thought I was going to fit, but nope: bump and no actions. Again. I did get some breathing room when Lando got too far away to shoot us, but it just prolonged the inevitable.)

I think literally half of the game consisted of me attacking Han, taking away his shield, and then he got it back at the end of the round with R2-D2. It was demoralizing. Equally annoying was that Lando would use his free action to allow Han to flip his Weapons Failure crit whenever his reroll wasn't enough to keep R2-D2 from flipping one of his cards face up. Cheeky.

I needed to joust, so I should have put the obstacles on his side of the board and waited for him to come to me. I didn’t even get half points on Han!

Loss 0-200

Well, that last round really hurt, dropping me down to 3rd place out of 10 people. Which is still good, but I didn’t end the day on a high.

This list really clicked with me. I like having the higher initiative striker to deal with some threats, and the ability to turn off Ailerons on “Duchess” is really handy. Death Troopers…I’m not sold. I understand that they cause people to fly differently, but they activated three times that day, and only one of which probably even made a difference. I’m thinking I may just drop them for a bid, which is TOTALLY unlike me. That would put my list at 193. There is a lot I could do with 7 points, but it needs to be REALLY good for me to do it because Initiative 5 is just so hotly contested. Afterburners or Proximity Mines on “Duchess”? Seismic Charges on two of my sentinels? Upgrade a sentinel to a Black Squadron Scout with Predator? I’ll have to try some things out.

Oh, also I set up my Sentinels in a cluster this tournament, rather than the dragnet. It worked really well, but I did overlap before we got into combat quite a few times. I think I’m going to go back to a spread deployment, but not quite as spread out as I used to do. That way we have more maneuver options, but we can still focus on a target with relative ease.

Final thought: I had been in a real Striker slump at game nights the past few weeks, so this tournament did a lot to restore my confidence in both my ability to fly, and the capabilities of the TIE striker.

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Consider afterburners on duchess. Having tried reheat strikers, theyre incredible. Shields are nice, but not getting shot is better, and afterburners gives you 2 optional moves, giving you even more speed and options on the initiative 5 pilot with the high initiative to make use of it.

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On 2/11/2019 at 1:04 AM, Magnus Grendel said:

Just a heads-up: Mel Miniatures on Shapeways is doing a very nice 3d print version of Griff Halloran's TIE Ugly Racer, Black Ace, from Resistance:

resistance-db-griff-main-image_a9d2d6cc.

resistance-db-black-ace-racer-main-image

710x528_25095909_13674206_1538823331.jpg

 

Do you have a working link for this? I can't seem to find it Shapeways' website.

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So... I have now joined the Ailerons Club.

I have now got 5 games in with the Afterburner Strikers over the past two days.
For all games, I have set up in one corner. One lies at 45 diagonally in the corner whilst it is surrounded by two pointed up each board edge.
Rationale here is that I can choose to slow roll (as much as you can with Strikers) up the edges and/or burst fairly quickly in a sort of dome and envelope anyone foolish enough to go up the middle.
Not much of a plan, really, was just amusing that I could do that.
I guess they also have a pretty good initial Disengage/Reform potential if someone decides/realises that their list actually wants to Joust.

A friend who had bought into both of the new factions gave me one of his spare cardboard platters, so I used the Gas Clouds for all of the games (I normally have Large Debris).

TLDR Version:
- Strikers will drop at a rate of roughly one per turn if there is some form of focused fire against them
- Jumping in to 5 Strikers with only limited Aileron experience beforehand will give you a headache... but is rewarding (I thought I would be fine, having played Phantoms and Gunboats extensively in the past. I was Wrong. 5 Multi-Move ships is Hard).
- The look on the opponent's faces and sound of their voice when you pull an unexpected Afterburner Killbox is totally worth it.
- Republican Longhorn Beef is going to be Strong.
- Gas Clouds are Really Good for newer players to Strikers (unless you are trying to deal damage and you don't have many left... then you are sad)
- Don't try to get cute with massed SLoops when you clearly have the better direct jousting AND positional potential
- When setting a killbox, be aware of a larger one approaching.
- Seem good against low-ship count lists (though you will have to be aware of Torpedo Carriers).
- Droids do work. Do not discount them... they still fire against your I1 Strikers.
- Whilst weak to Buzz Droids due to lack of shields, Ailerons have some form of Counter to Buzz Droids if you can position it right... keep it in mind.
- Starting in a corner seems... OK? Need to work on something else, maybe, but it seems reasonable for now.

***

First game was not exactly one I would ever want to face in the best of circumstances, let alone when trying something completely new for the first time:
4 Republican ARCs (one with Cody) and an I3 V19.
So, without much shred of a plan other than "make them move through the obstacles and try not to engage face on", I split my forces along my two edges, with the diagonal Striker moving straight as slowly as possible, as he created a box herd of longhorns. The general strategy worked, in that the opponent moved through the debris field. It did not work overall, as that is A Lot of Firepower, even if they don't get an action. I did not quite get around the sides of the box and I was unable to engage all of my ships in the one turn, ironically because I was not moving fast enough with My Board Edge Strikers. I did not manage to get a significant bump all game. Basically lost a ship a turn and only half pointed two ARCs before being wiped.
Those Generic ARCs are Chunky and moderately powerful.
Incidentally, Gas Clouds are just silly. No significant consequences for going over the top of them if you are not shooting.

Game two was against a relatively inexperienced player with Lando (and a swathe of upgrades) and Ten Numb with, Advanced Sensors, an additional shield and Elusive.
This game was equally as silly as the first, but was a great lesson for both of us. He made a mistake by trying to drive the Falcon through the Debris/Gas Clouds. The turn prior to this, he had his noses pointed towards a gap in that debris field, and the Strikers used Afterburners to their full effectiveness. They managed to just about cross half the board to end up blocking all free lanes for the next turn. Lando just narrowly ended up on top of debris. A round later he was toast.
Here is the learning from my side, though:
When facing one low manoeuvre ship with almost the entirety of your highly agile heavy swarm, disengage, reform and joust or dance around the sides OR go for the block with one and dance with the others (rinsing and repeating either as necessary for a nice clean board).
What I did instead was a series of killbox SLoops... through the gas clouds.
Without modifiers, dice variance and the near-automatic evade from the clouds meant that I was plinking maybe one damage a turn through whilst Ten Numb would deal heavy damage to all Strikers he pointed at.
Full credit to my opponent: Once Lando was off the board, he flew that B Wing like a boss, even managing a few near-complete arc dodges.
By the time I had realised my mistake, I was down to two or three stressed Strikers who could not do anything about it.
Time was called when I was down to one half pointed Striker and Ten Numb had 2 hull.
I deserved that loss, but it was a good lesson to be learnt in a casual environment.
Don't get cocky. As pretty as those SLoop Blooms are, they may not be as effective as actually hooning around the board.

Next day was another casual day.
Round One was against Blackout and Kylo.
I spread moderately wide in the start, threatening a large area of the board by turn two. When I saw an opportunity to pounce on Blackout, Afterburners did their thing magnificently. The Strikers (mostly) converged on roughly where I thought Blackout would end up, ending up with a lot of Range Two and Three shots on Blackout whilst Kylo was not able to make a shot. I narrowly avoided losing one to a Proton Torpedo whilst Blackout lost a huge chunk. Next turn saw Blackout unable to escape all arcs (though it was a close thing) and he exploded. This forced Kylo to have to be much more aggressive... but, against so many arcs, it is really hard to evade them all and several turns later I got my first win against Kylo/Blackout. The general strategy of long-range Afterburner dive-bombing appears effective against two ship lists, even ones with double reposition.
Also effective: Consistently rolling All Pictures when you have a Focus. My opponent's dice were average, but my attack was Super Hot.

Round Two was against a Droid Swarm. 3 sets of Energy Shells, 3 Sets of Buzz Droids and one set of Captain Seer and K2B4 (friendlies can spend a calculate on Defense: add an Evade if the attacker does not take a Strain).
My opponent set up with Sear and three droids a third of the way in from the edge closest to me, and three other droids a third in from the other edge.
My goal here was to catch Sear. This would have been a good plan if I had not changed my mind in the second turn.
I started relatively fast, with the lateral edge Strikers jumping forward and my board edge Strikers angling more toward the middle. My opponent set up her droids/Sear in a nice line and the droids on the other side came in as quick as they could. Turn two, I thought she would turn the SearDroids towards the side (there was a nice gap between Clouds and Debris where my lateral Strikers could/should have gone and she would have been able to Hard Turn all droids through the gap). This would have left the far Droids open to being picked off by doing the Long Range Kill Box... So that is what I did: Launch four Strikers towards the Far Droids (one kept up the side edge because that was more sensible for that particular Striker). It would have worked too (dropped two of them), if she didn't perform a simple Two Straight with her Sear droids, putting my killbox firmly inside a much larger killbox. I lost one Striker to massed fire, another caught a Buzz Droid Swarm to the Face, stressing him out. This was not where I wanted to be. The now Stressed Striker should have moved faster to block the lone remaining Far Droid, whilst the remaining Killbox Strikers made for a block on the Sear Droids. This ended up with a bleeding Captain and two less Strikers. Down two to five, it was always going to be an uphill battle, so I reverted to survival. Afterburners got me the range I needed to split off and place obstacles in the way. I lasted longer, eliminated Sear, but ended up being wiped on the final turn, 200-148.
Interestingly, my opponent was rolling less than average... which is concerning both from a Striker Survivability and Droid Damage Output standpoint.
Having been given Initiative, I can also say that K2B4 is also a bit of a pain. You fire first, lose a defense dice.... not good when you are as flimsy as a Striker. Sear is also a touch on the nasty side, turning them into essentially Crack Shot vessels (though, if I was playing as Sear, I would probably prefer Kraken for the double Calculate benefit).
Lessons:
- Droids are fragile... but still pack a punch in numbers when buffed by some form of support.
- Buzz Droids are Dangerous to Non-Shielded ships. Who would have thought?
- If you have a plan and have a chance to execute it, it is probably a good idea to not change the plan.
- Interestingly, Ailerons might be a nice partial-counter to Buzz Droids. I had a situation whereby my Aileron move picked up a set of buzz droids... but, because of the location of my ship post-Aileron, the BuzzBots could not be placed in the front guides, meaning that my regular move cleared them. Of course, that movement template went over a Rock and I exploded because of it.... but it is interesting to note the possibilities that Strikers/Reapers have that other ships do not.

Final game was against two Delta 7B Jedi and a Calibrated Laser Anakin, spread middle/distant to the corner I was in.

Gas Clouds everywhere for this game.
Again, the Afterburner killbox came in to play, allowing me to wipe one Delta7B in a single round when my opponent allowed me to point at a target.
I was getting exhausted by this point (it was late, I started the day tired, several burst aneurysms from playing with 5 Strikers), so the turn speed slowed down and made several board-state errors (missing that one of my Strikers was stressed from a previous SLoop, forgetting which dials go where).... but, in the end, again it is way too many arcs to dodge when you are already behind and have to be aggressive. You also can't use Force in defense if you roll all blanks. 200-80 victory.
Again, the Gas Clouds saved both of our ships several times... but the lack of potential damage/stress consequence makes it a standout obstacle choice for me at the moment. I know that tactical stress gain can be a vital component to an Aileron pilot's arsenal... but knowing that you are not going to be taking stress and you have a passive defensive modifier when you want to turn around is Huge. Knowing that you can Aileron over it and not lose an Action or take damage is Huge.


***
Has anyone tried running several wings of two about one third of the board edge in on either side with a lone Striker in the middle?
Strikers have the speed and agility to form up basically anywhere... seems like a reasonable Catch-All without giving away a gameplan or an additional turn to get somewhere.

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On 3/23/2019 at 8:56 PM, Vespid1311 said:


***
Has anyone tried running several wings of two about one third of the board edge in on either side with a lone Striker in the middle?
Strikers have the speed and agility to form up basically anywhere... seems like a reasonable Catch-All without giving away a gameplan or an additional turn to get somewhere.

Starting with two strikers on each side of the board and one in the middle is my default starting position. It tells my opponent nothing and lets me decide where the first engagement will take place. You are able to take two of them across the board fairly quickly while slow rolling with the others. If I see a joust that benefits me (usually 3 enemy ships), I take it. Otherwise I pull across my side and force them through obstacles. 

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Had another game last night, this time against:
Mace Windu (Delta 7B, R4 Astromech)
Wolffe (ARC170, with the attack Re-roll charge)
2x 104th ARCs

Opening was again the Corner Box. My opponent set up opposite me (3 Arcs and Mace basically in a box pointed at me), so I went for a disengage/rearrange...
Three turns later, I had three Strikers in the middle of the board pointed at him and two still mostly on my side of the board but pointed in too.
Bank Aileron, 3 Soft, Bank Afterburners is such a beautiful manoeuvre chain to get you around a central obstacle.
There were a variety of ranges but, due to the angles, I had to split fire.
Ended up losing the game, though the dice were initially vastly in my favour (Striker surviving Mace/Wolffe/ARC to the face, then half pointed an ARC and Mace in the first engagement... before attrition took hold).

Less about the game, though, and more about massed Strikers in general, as I was thinking about the aftermath and my initial hodge-podge mash up of Ranges...:
What do you try to do in an opening engagement?
Obviously, leading an opponent through an obstacle course is good.... but I feel that there is/should be more finesse about controlling my distance when launching myself into the fray.
I have been using Afterburners to jump half a board to really press in to R2/R1 or to otherwise engage a turn earlier than the opponent would like, but I have some suspicions that this is probably losing me too many Strikers for non-benefit.
At Range 3, I feel like I have a fighting chance to survive against a gunline... at the cost of not dealing enough initial damage to said gunline. I think my bias is showing here: Despite being technically better at attacking that 4 T70s (given that their attack is the same but there are more Strikers), I still feel like the Four T70s is a better offensive option because I am almost never spending my focus on initial defenses (whereas, with Strikers, I almost have to to survive). Options probably are a little better for the turn after this.
I get the feeling that Range 2 has a nice balance between Arc coverage, Survivability, Firepower, and options for the next turn.
Going for Range 1 against Aces is asking to be Arc Dodged by said Aces... but if they can not, you probably cripple them. High Risk, High Reward. Against numerous/heavy foes, however, this feels like I am not going to survive long enough to deal meaningful damage.
What sort of Range are you looking at engaging (for the most part) when you have a large number of Strikers?
Are you also looking to attack from behind obstacles?
...Perhaps aiming for a Block on the first engagement (almost certainly restricted to those with Afterburners)?

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Posted (edited)
On 3/26/2019 at 12:44 AM, Vespid1311 said:

Less about the game, though, and more about massed Strikers in general, as I was thinking about the aftermath and my initial hodge-podge mash up of Ranges...:
What do you try to do in an opening engagement?
Obviously, leading an opponent through an obstacle course is good.... but I feel that there is/should be more finesse about controlling my distance when launching myself into the fray.

I get the feeling that Range 2 has a nice balance between Arc coverage, Survivability, Firepower, and options for the next turn.
Going for Range 1 against Aces is asking to be Arc Dodged by said Aces... but if they can not, you probably cripple them. High Risk, High Reward. Against numerous/heavy foes, however, this feels like I am not going to survive long enough to deal meaningful damage.
What sort of Range are you looking at engaging (for the most part) when you have a large number of Strikers?
Are you also looking to attack from behind obstacles?
...Perhaps aiming for a Block on the first engagement (almost certainly restricted to those with Afterburners)?

I aim to have all my ships on target in the first engagement so we can focus down a ship. If that exposes me to all the enemy's fire, so be it; I have a jousty list. This usually results in a mix of range 2 and range 3 shots. If I accidentally overextend one of my ships so that it's at range 3 without any of my other ships having a shot, it usually turns out okay unless my opponent has double torps. The chances of one of my ships being at range 3 of ALL of my opponent's ships without any of my other strikers in range is slim to none. So if it survives, I ram it up into the opposing squad's flight path, or I'll break it off with aileron + sloop if that gets the ship out of my opponent's arcs next round. I do enjoy blocking, but you're right - you need Afterburners to do it on the first engagement.

Let's say I go up against 4 high-initiative Resistance ships. If any of my strikers are on a rock or don't have a shot, they kill one of them before it shoots, and then I have only 3 shots against their 4. This is why it's so critical to me to have all guns on target. Sure, they can kill one of yours. But if they spent a whole round dropping you from 5 down to 4 ships, your remaining 4 ships can hopefully take them from 4 down to 3, or at least do some crippling damage.

I save the range 1 kill shot maneuvers for later in the match when the enemy can't focus fire. Those 4 dice range 1 shots can definitely bring the hurt. I really enjoy doing the speed-1 K-turn with an injured ship, and then blocking with another injured one to keep that enemy at range 1 of the guy that just K-turned. Dice are unmodded, but it's a good set up.

I rarely try to set up obstructed shots. My number one goal is shooting the enemy, and to do that, I need good Aileron lanes. Sometimes I have to barrel roll to get that set up for next round, which isn't ideal, but it's better than hitting a rock. Debris...I have definitely toyed with debris before, knowing I can dial in a green blue, overlap with Adaptive Ailerons, then execute that blue maneuver to be stress free and still get my action. Usually, however, this doesn't result in a shot, so I would have to do a white maneuver and keep the stress. And in the game above, I took 3 crits from debris, so I'm definitely shy about intentionally running over debris at the moment.

Edited by Parakitor

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