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Brunas

Are Arc-Dodgers a NPE? Carolina Krayts Episode 24 Meta of Doom

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Hi forums, I try to keep our stuff pretty separate to not spam unless we have actual content you'll want, but in this case I need something from you!

 

I'm on a personal quest of discovery to learn how people feel about arc dodgers.  Quite frankly, they don't exist anymore in wave 10.5+ xwing because of FFG releasing very targeted upgrades to bring them out of the competitive meta.  We hear all the time about how palp aces was a terrible NPE, but I'm trying to figure out why.  Opinions are surprisingly varied - though I think I've mostly narrowed it down to being Soontir that everyone hated (before defenders).

 

So, my question is first:

Was Soontir a NPE?

http://www.strawpoll.me/13646000

 

And second, why?

For some people, arc dodgers in general are an NPE - the cat and mouse game gets old, and they quickly get tired of chasing aces around the board with little to no shots happening.

For others, it's just the sheer defensive power of soontir that does it - even when blocked.  4+ green dice, combined with palp means often he could be blocked, take no damage, and move on with no consequences.

http://www.strawpoll.me/13646022

 

Please don't overthink it - I would love your gut feeling, not a well thought out rational response, as ridiculous as that sounds.  I am very much curious if people consider double ace + support, or triple ace which are my favorite archetypes a negative play experience in general.  If I'm not willing to engage you if I don't have the upper hand, and I'm willing to run the game to time without shooting until I get that opening, is that degenerate/an NPE?  Is it any different than jousters fortressing or doing the same thing on the board edge?  Also, is it any different than turrets hanging out in the middle of the board and making there no safe space and forcing the engagement?

If you care, you can listen to me try to get real answers on the fly from everyone on our standard thing (pretty much throughout), but we can't really come to a conclusion without a whole lot more data.

http://carolinakrayts.libsyn.com/episode-24-meta-of-doom

Edited by Brunas
not even i care enough to figure out what number our episodes are

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Losing is an npe. It's the whole reason we chase meta lists and have a ton of negativity in this place to begin with. If more people could breathe and fly casual rather than chase the "no dice ultimate combo" we'd be much better off.

 

Specific to arc dodgers, noone likes the opponent you cant really position against that doesn't pay for it elsewhere.(in soontirs case the high ps double repostion and still have offensive mods + palpy). It's the same argument made vs adv slam bombs. It's not to say it cant be mitigated, but in a 100/6 format it really crimps the options to play against it, and not be ripped to shreds.

Edited by Ralgon

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10 minutes ago, Blail Blerg said:

What if we don't?  And we think FFG's recent trend is NPE.  Seriously, this game isn;t fun to build anymore vs Jumps and Fen and attanni. 

Hey, that's fine too!  Data is data :)

 

Sorry you aren't having fun building lists anymore.  I'm kind of struggling with the same thing.  It's frustrating to see entire archetypes wiped off the face of the Earth, but they always seem to come back.  Presumably we'll get a massively powercrept <ship_you_like_flying_here> soon, so it'll be viable again?

 

I'm not sure that's the right answer, but it might be the reality of the situation, and I'm also not sure that's even a bad thing.

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2 minutes ago, Ralgon said:

It's the same argument made vs adv slam bombs. It's not to say it cant be mitigated, but in a 100/6 format it really crimps the options to play against it, and not be ripped to shreds.

Are you making the argument that playing against soontir is similar to advanced slam K-Wings because he presents an illusion of choice and none of your options actually matter?  That's the general argument against Advanced SLAM K-Wings, and I'm not saying I disagree - just want to make sure I understand properly!

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4 minutes ago, Brunas said:

Are you making the argument that playing against soontir is similar to advanced slam K-Wings because he presents an illusion of choice and none of your options actually matter?  That's the general argument against Advanced SLAM K-Wings, and I'm not saying I disagree - just want to make sure I understand properly!

Pretty much. In soontirs case, the boost + barrel roll vs 95 % of his opposition gives him the position edge, but unlike most other builds pre expertise he doesn't lose offensive punch to pay for it.

Edited by Ralgon

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32 minutes ago, Brunas said:

Was Soontir a NPE?

Your questions do seem is slanted to get the answer you want - that Soontir was a NPE for people playing against him.  I found him a NPE when playing him when I was a newcomer.  To get the most out of him you need to be experienced in the game otherwise you can't maximise that amazing dial and repositioning actions to mitigate the Interceptor's fragility and high cost.  Now I'm better there's no point taking Interceptors when I have cheaper Strikers below and durable Defenders above the Interceptor.  They're squeezed out of the game and that is also a NPE as we don't get to see (very often) a fighter that was in an OT film.

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This game should be 90% about Arc Dodging and 10% about other stuff. Every game based on dog fighting should be like this, out of arc attacks should be special, but also come with some downsides like being a big fat target.

Soontir is the premium example of how the game should be played, not the underdog style who can't compete anymore.

We need to have turrets and 360 firing arcs toned down significantly so that arc's matter again, and guaranteed damage sources should also be toned down to where fragile ships are viable again.

It also wouldn't hurt for games to be larger in general. 150 points would open up a lot of breathing space for list construction which hampers a lot of builds, while still being small enough that it would be manageable for tournaments.

Edited by BadMotivator

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8 minutes ago, BadMotivator said:

This game should be 90% about Arc Dodging and 10% about other stuff. Every game based on dog fighting should be like this, out of arc attacks should be special, but also come with some downsides like being a big fat target.

Soontir is the premium example of how the game should be played, not the underdog style who can't compete anymore.

We need to have turrets and 360 firing arcs toned down significantly so that arc's matter again, and guaranteed damage sources should also be toned down to where fragile ships are viable again.

Check the new imp ps 11 hotness and all the cruise missile alpha idea's incoming and tell me arcs dont matter......

 

Edit: i should note, i personally don't find the issues i'm discussing an npe. But i have wierd take on losing unless i'm in a particularly bad mood before i start playing, and have no issue with being cannon fodder multiple times. My experience is no matter how bad the loss and the list i've lost too, there is always take away lessons about my builds, opponents, and/or tactics and flying style. My comments reflect an understanding of the issues which grate on players in general and observation of the discussions surrounding them.

Edited by Ralgon

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2 minutes ago, Sasajak said:

Your questions do seem is slanted to get the answer you want - that Soontir was a NPE for people playing against him.  I found him a NPE when playing him when I was a newcomer.  To get the most out of him you need to be experienced in the game otherwise you can't maximise that amazing dial and repositioning actions to mitigate the Interceptor's fragility and high cost.  Now I'm better there's no point taking Interceptors when I have cheaper Strikers below and durable Defenders above the Interceptor.  They're squeezed out of the game and that is also a NPE as we don't get to see (very often) a fighter that was in an OT film.

It's funny - that's the exact opposite of the answer I want.  The vast majority of my enjoyment and tournament success comes from "ace-wing", I'm trying to entertain the idea that the X-Wing I enjoy is not the same X-Wing that the vast majority of other players enjoy.

 

Results have been pretty surprising so far, honestly.

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5 minutes ago, Brunas said:

It's funny - that's the exact opposite of the answer I want.  The vast majority of my enjoyment and tournament success comes from "ace-wing", I'm trying to entertain the idea that the X-Wing I enjoy is not the same X-Wing that the vast majority of other players enjoy.

 

Results have been pretty surprising so far, honestly.

Take the results with a grain of salt. the forums are a vocal minority, not necessarily a good sampling of the whole community.

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No. At least not on his own.  At the end of the day he struggles to deal damage, can be blocked and actually has a somewhat limited dial. Higher PS (or just moving second) can also really ruin his day as does TLT. I used to hunt and kill Fel's all the time as Procket Jake. 

The bit that put him over the edge was Palp. Even then though they are far less on a NPE that so much other stuff. And if you remove autothrusters he then becomes almost pointless. 

 

3 minutes ago, SabineKey said:

Take the results with a grain of salt. the forums are a vocal minority, not necessarily a good sampling of the whole community.

I think the forums provide enough salt as it is. 

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Arc dodging was/is only ever an NPE when the play level between the two players was/is vastly different.  The amount of tokens add to this for the 1/2 times you get shots they just soak but for the most part Soontir is not an NPE

 

 

FYI, Soontir taking no hits from a modded 3 dice attack after being repeatedly blocked is nothing more than the Force playing favourites. 

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My first store championship, weeks before the jumpmaster was released, I placed 8th at a 50+ player store championship because people wernt prepared for Failsafed hotshot blasters and a non-donut hole  (ion+ torps) Ywing with droid-zuckuss. One poor Whisper managed to get all the way around the map to a fine R2 shot on my corner rear... except she clipped a debris, lost a shield, didnt get her free focus or cloak from the debris stress, then blanked against a 3 hit hotshot attack.

There's far more tools against arcdodgers now than there were then, you just have to be ready for them. We can expect a return of PTL Fen when the attani/jump nerf goes through, so BMST will likely see a resurgence. Alt arcs, mobile arc and even the ghost's special arc are things that break Autothrusters now. We're expecting Intercepter buffs to be attached to the Tie Silencer to bring soont (or at least Carnor) back to the meta, and it really wouldnt take much to bring Wes, Wedge and Luke into play- as  simple as a FAQ buff that Xwings with IA can equip an additional modification. (though Poe and Jess love that too.) It's really just the small fat jousters who are left behind- the Bwing, G1A and Punisher. (Hint hint, FFG)

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I wouldn't describe it as NPE necessarily, but watching someone play with full board knowledge and ability to dance out of most situations because of double respositioning, along with the best insurance in the game (at the time) isn't exactly what dreams are made of.

Same as anything else dubbed 'NPE', it can feel like that because it removes any real sense of player interaction. You pick the best move you can think of, they dodge it anyway, scratch you a bit and repeat.

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I started playing just after the deadeye nerf came out. So, very few arc-dodgers except Fenn Rau (who isn't quite one anyway), however I did play against Soontir once.

Soontir, Vader & Inquisitor. He flew around the board for nearly an hour while my ARCs plus Biggs failed to do anything, then we had one engagement: Biggs died, Inqy nearly died, he won on points. It wasn't much fun, partly because I had time to wander off and see how the other games were doing while he pondered his options setting his dials. He wasn't deliberately playing slowly (if he got caught by my ships, he'd probably have lost), but in a more formal tournament, he'd have been warned - I discussed this afterwards with others who'd played him however, as a new guy I didn't know what I should do.

 

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The only thing I thought of as a negative play experience was prenerf defenders with palp. Impossible to shoot through, even if you blocked them they had mods.

Soontir was good with an experienced player, but also very fragile. Also he was a more flexible and interesting ship to face. 

Heck I played against soon tir twice last week vs miranda nym rex, and he was hard to pin down. Soontir isn't a NPE. 

As to your question whether it is okay to run away from your enemy all game to wait for a favourable engagement it is not the same as fortressing, as you have to think about your own movements compared to the opponent's (it is hard not getting caught for an entire game), where as in a fortress you pick the best spot and just wait for your enemy to make the least optimal move. That is NPE. 

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Interceptors got me into this game. For probably three months, I flew some combination of Soontir, Carnor, and Turr. I lost basically every game, but I had a ton of fun - it really felt like I was zipping around in space. And then I'd blow up.

I don't find repositioning ships to be an npe at all.

Edited by hargleblarg

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Yeah, have to join the "not an NPE" group here.

I find it interesting that some are saying he was because he was super defensive/arcdodgy AND got offensive mods. Not sure what world that's from. As a former Soontir player, if I'm arcdodging everything, then I've done a boost+roll, and I have a single focus token, and no rerolls. If I'm not arcdodging, and have a token stack, I'm almost certainly spending tokens on defense, and then not having mods for offense, or being dead due to green dice betrayal. Not to mention that most times I'm shooting first, so I have to choose in advance whether to spend my focus on offense or not (and unless that focus is going to guarantee me something dead, generally the answer is, don't spend it on offense).

I personally actually did enjoy flying Targeting Computer Soontir ages ago, which meant TL+Focus+Evade, TL+Focus+Position, but at that point, he's hardly the all-arcdodging-all-the-time, token-stacking-defensive-monster he's always made out to be. If I outfly my opponent, that reposition+TL+Focus is pretty huge though, but I've also outflown my opponent.

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To me, X-Wing is, was or should be all about jousting vs arc-dodging. That means I really love Interceptors and Jake, i.e. ships with boost and barrel roll, and swarms, i.e. 5 A-wings, 5 Strikers, 5 TIEs, 7 TIEs, and so on.
Turrets, bombs, alphastrikes, automatic damage, complete dice mods - all that is fine for me as long as it takes a supporting, minor role in the game.
I think the most useful concepts to discuss this are skill floor/skill ceiling and the different forms of defense this game offers: hitpoints, mitigation, regeneration, arcdodging. The idea of an arcdodging ace needs a token stack and low hull, and it has to evade. But the more emphasis on the dodging itself the better for the game. More emphasis on mitigation brings the arcdodger closer to an NPE.

Soontir specifically was close to an NPE, but he never was to me. Because at some point his player will make a mistake, will be blocked, or blank out, and then his 3 hull are not enough. But he was very close to the NPE because of his token stack combined with Palpshuttle. I don't think Soontir by himself was much of a problem, but he was with the old Palp and complete information.
The core problem of that was of course the damage mitigation creep. Same problem for Whisper: 4 dice + focus + evade + Palpatine after you knew the results. However, their skill floor was quite high, and their skill ceiling was high. But Palp brought down (e: the floor for) both (ships).

By now there are several options to fight his token stack, from Turr to HSCP to Teroch to Palob. And then there is of course the red dice+modification creep, so even if Soontir with stealth device gets all 4 evades + his token, he can only do that once per round. Infinite-Procket-Fenn does not care about his stacks. 5Dice-Norra does not care about his stacks. 6Dice-Rey does not care about his stacks. Cruise missiles do not care about his stacks. And that doesn't even include autodamage or bombs.

I think Ace-wing (= damage mitigation creep) can be a problem if their offense and defense don't depend on the position. That's by the way part of the reason why outmaneuver should be a core mechanic, not an upgrade. So if the Ace packs too much of a punch, then it's simply less fun. If the mitigation comes from a crazy amount of tokens and other cards then it's again less fun. But if the offense and defense depend on a good maneuver then it's great! The idea that you can never catch him but if you do then he's done for is very statisfying engaging for both players. Setting dials should be the most important part of the game I want to play. And admittedly, the final phase of Ace-wing managed to reduce the importance of the maneuver.

But the game went into the completely opposite direction, with red dice creep and hitpoint creep and autodamage and bombs and full modifications. As if we saw a very slow and delayed reaction to Soontir/Whisper - making sure that such a thing won't ever happen again. And even worse, while the skill ceiling might be as high (I couldn't tell), the skill floor is lower. So I'm convinced that at the same skill level, the newer lists blow Soontir and other arcdodgers away. Turrets, bombs, autodamage, fully modified 4-6dice attacks. Those things do (usually) not primarily rely on good maneuvers but instead on clever list building. Which in the age of the internet makes it a moot point. (It goes without saying that well chosen maneuvers make them even better. The point here is that you don't have to for a good list)

So what's my point?

FFG messed up the initially awesome ace-wing by providing too much mitigation and lowering the skill floor too much. Maybe arc-dodgers were an NPE, but not because of the arc-dodging, because that relies on good maneuvers and hence can be countered by every list. Which is a great concept for this game!

That's why Jake Farrell is a well designed pilot - he can reposition, but with a cost. Does he token stack or boost+roll? Can he dare to go into range 1 or not?
Soontir is also designed ok, by himself at least - his double repositioning gives him one focus, like Jake. But he has 3 attack, so now the choice to go up close is less important, and he can get double focus, which makes him less vulnerable. Then you slap on autothrusters and suddenly he really likes range 3, which Jake can't afford due to his low attack. And then you slap on stealth device and suddenly these 2 focus are really, really valuable because their worth increases with every green die. That might be too much already, but then you add old Palpatine and now he's edging on that line to the NPE.
Compare it to Fenn now. He gets, in range 1, his 3 green dice + 1 if you are in arc + 1 evade just because. That's 4+1 dice with a focus, and you expect 3.5 evades, like Soontir. But as I said earlier in this post, that's frustrating because he also hits extremely hard! And he get's basically the same defense on range 3. So he is way worse than Soontir because he cares less about positioning but hits harder.

So in my opinion it's really not "the arc-dodger" as a concept that's an NPE. And while Soontir with his 35pts was good, he by himself was not the problem. Old Palp was.

But I think the question is pointless by now. There are too many turrets, bombs, autodamage and ships that don't care about the maneuver around for arc-dodgers to become relevant again.

Edited by GreenDragoon

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