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So, again I'm hearing

"Vultures are the problem"

Combined with "look at what TA175 + sear do!" and "Nantexes/Chertek does insane stuff!"


Are the both true, because the descriptions people focus on are the latter, which would mean the sear suite and/or chertek is the enabler, not the vultures, but everyone keeps honing in on the vultures.

No one asked Paul if he'd play the list wthout chertek or sear, right? If the vultures are so amazing, just plug a dank hyena in there and it'll also be amazing, amirite?

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24 minutes ago, Tlfj200 said:

So, again I'm hearing

"Vultures are the problem"

Combined with "look at what TA175 + sear do!" and "Nantexes/Chertek does insane stuff!"


Are the both true, because the descriptions people focus on are the latter, which would mean the sear suite and/or chertek is the enabler, not the vultures, but everyone keeps honing in on the vultures.

No one asked Paul if he'd play the list wthout chertek or sear, right? If the vultures are so amazing, just plug a dank hyena in there and it'll also be amazing, amirite?

The Vulture is possibly the best designed new ship in 2.0 so far, networked is amazing but well implemented. You can stack init kills on these things with nearly the entire card pool, and they suffer in general from opponents who know where/when and at what ranges to attack from. Only potential point increase I could see happening is to Struts because it sometimes turns them into mini collusion detector U-Wings which seems aggressive for 1pt, though isnt the end of the world. The real enemy here is Ensnare Turrets. Part of the confusion here I think is all the misinformation about games going to time. I never felt that there was an acceptable definition of that. Full Destruction is an unrealistic expectation of the game and not a standard any list should be held to when judging points given format. Its worth thinking about in terms of format and ship design maybe but point cost increases based on # of games going to time seems extremely arbitrary. 

Edited by Boom Owl

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1 minute ago, Boom Owl said:

Part of the confusion here I think is all the misinformation about games going to time. I never felt that there was an acceptable definition of that. Full Destruction is an unrealistic expectation of the game and not a standard any list should be held to when judging points given format. Its worth thinking about in terms of format and ship design maybe but point cost increases based on # of games going to time seems extremely arbitrary. 

Worth quoting for emphasis.

Games going to time are not inherently the problem. People feeling the games aren't resolved are.

I've had lots of games go to time where the winner was functionally decided several turns ago, but one player felt they couldn't concede because of points, and the other didn't feel they could close out (either due to risks, or simply lack of firepower). Doesn't mean the game wasn't decided, just that time was technically called.

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From the definitely not vulture perspective I brought essentially 3 near full mod proton rockets to a major tournament specifically so I could delete things quickly and mostly just leave. It worked alarmingly well. Only a few of my games ended at full destruction. Didn't end up facing vultures on the day but during practice games leading up it was not uncommon for 2 on average to be destroyed in one turn. My plan in that matchup isnt to end the game at 200 destroyed either. That level of effort isnt really necessary. 

Trip Jedi and Empire are running around with trip ace alpha strikes that carve out X% of a list via overwhelming force and then peace out. 
Jan point change wont change that approach or that archetypes availability. There to many ways to do it. 

Best to focus on game mechanics that actually need attention. Are mobile expensive things able to regen a bad engage? Are Aces so cheap they can just keep adding upgrades to become jousters? Are premovement options still to cheap? Are Turrets also Boosty Alpha Strike Aces? These are the bigger questions. Prioritize all that stuff and then maybe adjust Sears cost slightly if it looks necessary to do so. 

Edited by Boom Owl

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Vultures aren't a problem, their dice are. They've always been strong if they roll well, but that diceyness makes them very unreliable.

So, from a certain point of view, Vultures could be the problem, if the price you pay for critical mass allows for key dice mitigating inclusions.

Its difficult to price that extra killer app fairly, if it puts it out of reach for any other variety of CIS squad where it just isn't so good.

Btw, I have no stake or expertise here, it's just a thought that could well be way wrong.

Actually, I do have a stake. 7 or 8 ships where the only genuine decision is to hard turn in this turn or next, before chucking a whole bunch of decently modded dice and just cluster****ing the board, is a lame game to me.

Especially if also gets bonuses for dying. Kill it all with fire. I don't care who's to blame for it.

Boo droids.

They are at least good fun outside of my own poor dial management against such blobs.

Honestly don't actually dislike it, partly trolling. Just prefer any other match up.

Apart from Quad Lambda/U Wing. That just sucks the joy out of me.

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Vulture Swarms: A Manifesto

On Going to Time

There has been a lot of talk that vulture swarms “take too long” or “drag the game out”. I feel that treats vulture swarms as somehow more special than other swarms. I’m here to tell you that, to the extent this is true, it is true for all swarms.

As a general tactic, you cannot waste much time getting the “perfect” position or engage on a swarm. Chances are, you will start “down” on points against a swarm (of any kind) due to their jousting ability, and thus you want the initial engage to happen as swiftly as possible. That is not to say you want to take a bad joust (or a straight joust of any kind), but you likely need to realize that the swarm can, and will, find one of your ships, and shoot it. The constant fear of being shot/losing a ship is just causing you to lose the game and feel bad.

This isn’t unique to vulture swarms, even if they’re currently the “top dog” of swarms.

  1. TIE swarm - Better not dawdle - you’re likely going to be down after initial engage “wasting time” punching through the Iden charge.
  2. Sinker Swarm - that’s an awful lot of health… better not spend a ton of time toilet bowling, and they’ll probably hurt a ship real bad on initial engage.
  3. Torkil Swarm - only 5 ships this time, but chances are they’ll find something and shoot it… and that ship will likely be initiative zero.
  4. Barrage Bombers - was there only 5? Does it matter? 

Does all of this feelsbad? Yep. Is any of this unbeatable? Nope. Is any of thise NPE? I mean, honestly, maybe, but it’s actually a core philosophy of swarms, guys. Like, if swarms exist, and are even marginally competitive (man, even if they aren’t really competitive), this is basically a core design of what they’ll do. Vultures are not doing anything special here.

*This is not to say, or claim, that vultures are fine from a points perspective, but rather to note that as long as a swarm exists, the above will exist. Perhaps vultures could, or should, be more expensive, but let's not pretend that will change how they play.

 

What Makes Vultures Different - Network Calculations and Struts

Network Calculations

So, one of the things that makes vultures unique is their ability to share their calculate tokens (i.e. force tokens) among each other within range 1. Basically, passive mods. This is, in theory, to make up for the weak chassis.

I hear the complaint that this makes this 2.0 glitterstim, which I guess is sort of right? However, there’s some inherent weaknesses to this.

First, you can drain the calculates. Further, every calculate spent on defense is not spent on offense.

Second (really first) - they have 2 dice and can blank. Worth stressing, because they don’t have the health to absorb variance.

Third - the first two have been playing into a current meta trend for awhile now: low ship count, which means low numbers of shots. If you don’t put many shots into a vulture, then the value of the volume of networked calculations it has just went up. A lot. It now functionally does have infinite force… but that’s a matchup/meta issue. There are many matchups those vultures do not have “infinite” calculates, I assure you.

 

Grappling Struts

So, people really love/hate this thing. “iT iGnOrEs A fUnDaMeNtAl pArT oF xWiNg!”   Spoiler - Yeah, so do all of those gas clouds TIE/sinker swarms bring. 

Don’t get me wrong - struts are great! They do some really cool/weird stuff. But let’s not pretend that the “ignoring the obstacles part” is the main attraction, or even the unique part, because half of all lists are functionally doing that right now.

That said, I have some complaints. I think struts should cost zero points… but that the vulture chassis should go up proportionally, so that vultures always have struts. This just partly because I think struts are cool, but also partly because of other reasons:

First, one of the problems on the board, as an opponent, is tracking which vultures have struts, and which don’t. This is overly confusing, and it’s unfortunate. Not everyone will be Paul or I with multi-colored vultures and/or specific rings denoting who-is-who. No one should ever lose track of the game state, *especially* when it’s “who can now jump onto rocks for free again??*

Second, and this is more subtle, because struts cost points, you’re seeing a lot of min/maxing by lists selectively adding and dropping them. By just building the cost of struts into the chassis, a whole of swarms accidentally just get more expensive because they can’t randomly drop struts off a few vultures to squeeze in a few more upgrades, and those upgrades matter (and sometimes, they matter a lot). Combined with possible points increases on those upgrades (or pilots like chertek/sear), you could conceivably make swarms less efficient and cool.

 

Edited by Tlfj200

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21 minutes ago, Tlfj200 said:

That said, I have some complaints. I think struts should cost zero points… but that the vulture chassis should go up proportionally, so that vultures always have struts. This just partly because I think struts are cool, but also partly because of other reasons:

First, one of the problems on the board, as an opponent, is tracking which vultures have struts, and which don’t. This is overly confusing, and it’s unfortunate. Not everyone will be Paul or I with multi-colored vultures and/or specific rings denoting who-is-who. No one should ever lose track of the game state, *especially* when it’s “who can now jump onto rocks for free again??*

Second, and this is more subtle, because struts cost points, you’re seeing a lot of min/maxing by lists selectively adding and dropping them. By just building the cost of struts into the chassis, a whole of swarms accidentally just get more expensive because they can’t randomly drop struts off a few vultures to squeeze in a few more upgrades, and those upgrades matter (and sometimes, they matter a lot). Combined with possible points increases on those upgrades (or pilots like chertek/sear), you could conceivably make swarms less efficient and cool.

 

This makes a tonne of sense.

More fun.  Easier on the board to play with or against.  Easier to balance.

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22 minutes ago, Boom Owl said:

Trip Jedi and Empire are running around with trip ace alpha strikes that carve out X% of a list via overwhelming force and then peace out. 

People keep saying this, but I don't see things playing out like that.  Maybe I'm just not paying close enough attention.  There's a difference between being up and refusing to take a bad engagement and just flat out running.

26 minutes ago, Boom Owl said:

Are premovement options still to cheap?

You've been stuck on this for a while.  Virtually no one uses them except Guri.  And I3 Inquisitors...?

29 minutes ago, Boom Owl said:

Are Turrets also Boosty Alpha Strike Aces? 

Is this about RZ-2's?  Because, if they're supposed to be alpha striking, I'm doing it wrong.

 

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25 minutes ago, gennataos said:

People keep saying this, but I don't see things playing out like that.  Maybe I'm just not paying close enough attention.  There's a difference between being up and refusing to take a bad engagement and just flat out running.

I can only really speak to the game I play I guess. Targeting a specific MOV and leaning into mobile aces until the game is over has worked very reliably for me. Its basically the game Trip Aces play. You don't have to flat out run to run. It just kinda happens naturally. If I can fully destroy I absolutely will but its not the starting point if that makes sense?

25 minutes ago, gennataos said:

You've been stuck on this for a while.  Virtually no one uses them except Guri.  And I3 Inquisitors...?

Advanced Sensors, Precog, R2A6 and Sense are all still undercosted. Precog especially on Vader.

25 minutes ago, gennataos said:

Is this about RZ-2's?  Because, if they're supposed to be alpha striking, I'm doing it wrong.

 

RZ2As arent really what I was referring to there. My concern on alpha strike turret aces mostly still centers around things like Boba, Nantex, and the YT1300 always needing to be monitored closely. Boba and the rebel YT eventually got to where it needed to be on cost.


 

The questions at the end of that one post I listed were just general things that I think need to be looked at carefully every point cycle. Not all of them are massive current problems. 

Edited by Boom Owl

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5 minutes ago, Boom Owl said:

I can only really speak to the game I play I guess. Targeting a specific MOV and leaning into mobile aces until the game is over has worked very reliably for me. Its basically the game Trip Aces play. If I can fully destroy I absolutely will but its not the starting point if that makes sense?

Yeah, makes sense.  

7 minutes ago, Boom Owl said:

Advanced Sensors, Precog, R2A6 and Sense are all still undercosted. Precog especially on Vader.

On the pre-movement stuff, maybe, but I think that has to be proven, consistently and competitively, before it can be considered anything more than conjecture.  Sense?...I actually kind of hate, as game design, anything which allows me to ...interact?... with my opponents stuff without their consent/input.  Like Crackshot, Luminara, Midnight, jam of any sort, etc....a lot of that stuff is straight "feels bad".  There's almost always a flash of "that's BS" which something like that triggers. 

12 minutes ago, Boom Owl said:

RZ2As arent really what I was referring to there. My concern on alpha strike turret aces mostly still centers around things like Boba, Nantex, and the YT1300 always needing to be monitored closely. Boba and the rebel YT eventually got to where it needed to be on cost.

Ah.  Okay!

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Just now, gennataos said:
14 minutes ago, Boom Owl said:

 

On the pre-movement stuff, maybe, but I think that has to be proven, consistently and competitively, before it can be considered anything more than conjecture.  Sense?...I actually kind of hate, as game design, anything which allows me to ...interact?... with my opponents stuff without their consent/input.  Like Crackshot, Luminara, Midnight, jam of any sort, etc....a lot of that stuff is straight "feels bad".  There's almost always a flash of "that's BS" which something like that triggers. 

I dont really want to get into a premovement mechanic debate. Doesnt take many games with Vader to see that Precog is undercosted. Same with Sense on Jedi or with other Aces using it to fill in bid for jousts.

Im fairly confident that without a cost increase R2A6 Ani will end up on more peoples radars once regen goes up.  

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16 minutes ago, gennataos said:

On the pre-movement stuff, maybe, but I think that has to be proven, consistently and competitively, before it can be considered anything more than conjecture. 

only one result, admittedly, but I just took Precog Vader to Philly and 5-0'd the Worlds Qualifier.

All but one of my games finished on time, but that had as much to do with the format as anything, as my two imperial opponents looked at the board when they were losing with 15 minutes to play and said "he's just gonna leave, right? good game." Not having to loiter for mov freed us from going through the motions.

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12 minutes ago, Tlfj200 said:

An unironic feature of MOV not mattering to make cuts/prizes.

It matters for system open prizes. If your 4-1 going into final round and lose you can still get prize support MOV rekt by the 3-2 players.  

Should have tried harder for full destruction I guess. Weird. 

Edited by Boom Owl

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23 minutes ago, Boom Owl said:

Im fairly confident that without a cost increase R2A6 Ani will end up on more peoples radars once regen goes up.  

 

20 minutes ago, Tlfj200 said:

If regen goes up 
:(

I agree and wonder if people shouldn't already be playing it.  Also, I'm not sure if regen going up wouldn't be a feature.

7 minutes ago, skotothalamos said:

only one result, admittedly, but I just took Precog Vader to Philly and 5-0'd the Worlds Qualifier.

All but one of my games finished on time, but that had as much to do with the format as anything, as my two imperial opponents looked at the board when they were losing with 15 minutes to play and said "he's just gonna leave, right? good game." Not having to loiter for mov freed us from going through the motions.

I don't doubt it could be a problem, it just hasn't proven to be a problem, en masse, yet.  I also think Vader should go UP UP UP.  He fundamentally hurdles roadblocks built into new cards that come out.

Edited by gennataos

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2 hours ago, Tlfj200 said:

No one asked Paul if he'd play the list wthout chertek or sear, right? If the vultures are so amazing, just plug a dank hyena in there and it'll also be amazing, amirite?

Amiajoketoyou.jpg

1 hour ago, Tlfj200 said:

Vulture Swarms: A Manifesto

I'm furious that this didn't start with 'a Spectre is haunting x-wing'

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I can see generic Vultures going up a point.  The Vulture Swarm (with whatever enabler you like) is a smidge too good compared to other swarms.  Separatists in general have been doing really well, even non-Nantex lists.  Named Vultures are still garbage.

Nantexes are definitely too good.

Bellyrubs and Infiltrators and Hyenas are reasonable.  If anything, the Bellyrub title might be the too-cheap card in that chassis.

I like Travis's idea.  If TFD's with struts are 21 points, and there's no strut-less option to run, I think that's fine.

I would be very surprised if Chertek w/ Ensnare and 7 droids w/ some toys is still a legal list in January.

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I have zero sympathy for the "swarms feel bad to joust" idea.  It's literally all they're good at.  Ace squads have initiative to shoot first and reposition, they have to be worse than swarms at something.  If it didn't feel bad to joust against swarms, something would be fundamentally broken.  

All that being said, plenty of ace lists can joust swarms and not be totally screwed, which tells you something.

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