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surly88

Tie Swarms nowadays

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Our group is getting back into X-Wing after almost a year of break and we're still figuring out what is going on ; )

 

Back in the early days Tie Swarms (both 6, 7 or 8 of them) where a brute force but got seen less and less the more waves and other ships came out.

When we stopped playing Tie Swarms where pretty rare, but once in a while someone would field them and show that they where still relevant.


I looked through meta-wing and there was only one list I found which performed decent ... not that great, but not bad either.

Are Tie Swarms still a thing today or have they been powercreeped too much?

 

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They aren't common.

I switched out of using a 'classic' 8-ship TIE swarm about a year ago in favour of a 5-ship 'heavy swarm' using TIE strikers, because I was just thoroughly sick of 2-dice attacks bouncing harmlessly off agility-2-with-Lone Wolf large ships, and unblockable TIE/x7 defenders and attani mindlink protectorates. 

Things have improved. A bit.

  • TIE/x7 and Genius are now susceptible to being blocked. 
  • Attani Mindlink is now limited to two ships rather than the entire squad.
  • Advanced SLAM no longer allows K-wing squadrons to deploy ridiculous minefields during SLAM moves.

Things have also gotten worse. 

  • The 'default' missile is now Harpoon Missiles - which are essentially one-point-less Homing Missiles with a potential assault missile-esque range 1 splash
  • Bomblet generators are cheaper than seismic charges, more effective than seismic charges* and don't run out like siesmic charges, making ships capable of taking two bomb upgrades (Nym, Miranda Doni, Emon Azzamen, Deathrain) a nightmare for a large swarm to engage
  • Reinforce is now a thing in the standard game. A TIE swarm engaging a Wookie Gunship has about 1 chance in 3 of putting a point of damage past the reinforce token at range 2. More like 1 in 5 at range 3. Either range 1, or crossfire, or give up and go home. 

They can still work. But it won't be easy and you'll need a lot of practice with them to work out a doctrine for dealing with the newer tricks (like when to allow a harpoon missile to 'just kill you' so as to deny an opponent the splash damage)

 

* All right; in theory 1 automatic damage and 'roll 2 dice against yourself' average out the same. But:

  • Bomblets can cause critical damage. Seismics cannot.
  • Bomblets can be rerolled by Cad Bane (if present).
  • Bomblets produce 'lumpy' damage (you take 2, you take 0) rather than even (you both take 1). The former is much better at actually removing ships from the board than the latter.
Edited by Magnus Grendel

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27 minutes ago, Pooleman said:

I still see them. They don’t win unless the pilot is experienced. Every time I play against a tie swarm they bump often and the game becomes more like a parking lot simulator. 

Yeah I see, fair enough.

Most people I know that play 6+ ship lists I would consider among the better and veteran players though. 

On the other hand: since they've become pretty rare, I could see people making mistakes against them too because of lack of experience.

 

9 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

They aren't common.

I switched out of using a 'classic' 8-ship TIE swarm about a year ago in favour of a 5-ship 'heavy swarm' using TIE strikers, because I was just thoroughly sick of 2-dice attacks bouncing harmlessly off agility-2-with-Lone Wolf large ships, and unblockable TIE/x7 defenders and attani mindlink protectorates. 

Things have improved. A bit.

  • TIE/x7 and Genius are now susceptible to being blocked. 
  • Attani Mindlink is now limited to two ships rather than the entire squad.
  • Advanced SLAM no longer allows K-wing squadrons to deploy ridiculous minefields during SLAM moves.

Things have also gotten worse. 

  • The 'default' missile is now Harpoon Missiles - which are essentially one-point-less Homing Missiles with a potential assault missile-esque range 1 splash
  • Bomblet generators are cheaper than seismic charges, more effective than seismic charges* and don't run out like siesmic charges, making ships capable of taking two bomb upgrades (Nym, Miranda Doni, Emon Azzamen, Deathrain) a nightmare for a large swarm to engage
  • Reinforce is now a thing in the standard game. A TIE swarm engaging a Wookie Gunship has about 1 chance in 3 of putting a point of damage past the reinforce token at range 2. More like 1 in 5 at range 3. Either range 1, or crossfire, or give up and go home. 

They can still work. But it won't be easy and you'll need a lot of practice with them to work out a doctrine for dealing with the newer tricks (like when to allow a harpoon missile to 'just kill you' so as to deny an opponent the splash damage)

Yeah I've seen most changes but mostly only from reading, not by playing.

I guess Harpoons can be nasty, true. On the other hand as you say they also bring a few tricks, like suiciding a harpooned Tie into your opponents ships for example. Or as you say simply let that poor guy die and avoid splash.

 

 

The reason why I'm asking is that we're having a small tournament with about 20 people this weekend and I'm considering bringing one of my long time favourite lists:

Howlrunner + Crackshot / 3 Black Squad + Crackshot / 3 Academy

or

Soontir + PTL, Thrusters, TC / Howlrunner + Crackshot / 3 Black Squad + Crackshot

Not sure yet, we'll see.

Thanks for the feedback anyway though! : )

Edited by surly88

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I've considered bringing a TIE Salad, but, as MG said, Wookie Gunships make a traditional swarm very sad. That Reinforce action is bonkers. But, if someone brings 4 Gunships, really the only option you have is to get behind them with one or two ships and make your shots count. Blocking against a quad-Wookie list isn't even super effective as it just allows the back ships 4 dice attacks, but it does really soften them up if you can focus fire.

Anyhow, was considering bringing 3 TIE/fo, 2 Strikers, and a Bomber. It's a lot of ships, the most ships I've ever been able to consider in a standard match.

 

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14 minutes ago, surly88 said:

On the other hand: since they've become pretty rare, I could see people making mistakes against them too because of lack of experience.

Indeed. People often seem to have no dratted clue how to face 4+ ships these days, and if you can fly a TIE swarm effectively, it's still an impressive experience.

16 minutes ago, surly88 said:

The reason why I'm asking is that we're having a small tournament with about 20 people this weekend and I'm considering bringing one of my long time favourite lists:

Howlrunner + Crackshot / 3 Black Squad + Crackshot / 3 Academy

I'm hesitant about Howlrunner just because of the risk of corralling your ships into a nice tight range 1 bubble. But provided you learn when to break formation and engage as a loose pack, and rerolls be darned, it can still work.

17 minutes ago, surly88 said:

Soontir + PTL, Thrusters, TC / Howlrunner + Crackshot / 3 Black Squad + Crackshot

I'd avoid Soontir Fel & miniswarm. The game at the moment features lots of super-heavily-modified 4-dice attacks (which he can't evade more than one of per turn), lots of PS10/PS11 pilots (Vader, Quickdraw and Rey all with Veteran Instincts are common sights) and lots of automatic damage effects like bombs and mines, I'm not convinced the Baron is the best choice. A TIE swarm in a bad matchup at least has the weight of numbers on its side, and killing them takes multiple shots over multiple turns where your opponent might make a mistake; a TIE phantom or TIE interceptor caught by some sort of hard counter can lose you 30-40 points of ace in the time it takes for you to sneeze.

25 minutes ago, Praetorate of the Empire said:

I've considered bringing a TIE Salad, but, as MG said, Wookie Gunships make a traditional swarm very sad. That Reinforce action is bonkers. But, if someone brings 4 Gunships, really the only option you have is to get behind them with one or two ships and make your shots count. Blocking against a quad-Wookie list isn't even super effective as it just allows the back ships 4 dice attacks, but it does really soften them up if you can focus fire.

In a crossfire they can be killed - their big weakness (and it's a big weakness against a 'swarm of bees' like a 7-8 ship swarm) is their lack of a segnor or koiogan turn. 

It's another case where splitting up and outpositioning someone is far more useful than getting the howlrunner reroll. 

Crack Shot is still a godsend too, though - crack shot leaves you with at least one turn of fire which can reliably do a few damage past those tokens. 

I'll admit I've yet to face a 4-ship Wookie Commando squad. 

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Having flown five Strikers for a couple months, I've decided to try five TIE/ln in a dispersed swarm. Maybe I'm overconfident, but sharing synergy combinations with at least three others in the swarm (toting some sparse yet creative upgrades), I think many opponents simply can't wrap their brains around 4+ lists. I mean, I lose one fairly early, but after that my opponents tend to waffle on choosing their next target, making odd maneuver choices and poor targeting priorities, and sometimes making wierd action choices. This often is enough to put some hurt on one of their ships fairly early. It's definitely a long-game strategy of patience, though.

 

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1 hour ago, Magnus Grendel said:

I'd avoid Soontir Fel & miniswarm. The game at the moment features lots of super-heavily-modified 4-dice attacks (which he can't evade more than one of per turn), lots of PS10/PS11 pilots (Vader, Quickdraw and Rey all with Veteran Instincts are common sights) and lots of automatic damage effects like bombs and mines, I'm not convinced the Baron is the best choice. A TIE swarm in a bad matchup at least has the weight of numbers on its side, and killing them takes multiple shots over multiple turns where your opponent might make a mistake; a TIE phantom or TIE interceptor caught by some sort of hard counter can lose you 30-40 points of ace in the time it takes for you to sneeze.

This. I actually just flew against PS 10 Rey Falcon Finn Kanan crew with Soontir last night and he pretty much tore her to pieces. Maybe against a really good Rey player it's an insta-win with a really experienced player, but it is difficult to make that firing arc work against an Interceptor, especially the Baron. But the meta here seems to be pretty strange, reminiscent of an older meta (I flew against Dengar and Nym, together, for the first time two weeks ago). I seem to be one of the only bombardiers around, and I brought Vader, Soontir, and Deathrain (Ion and Seismics). But, the thing that seems consistent with the meta is that two-ship builds are increasingly common. Shouldn't a loosely flown swarm be a strong answer to that? Either way, Soontir was pretty solid through most of the game, I'll probably be using him a lot more now. Just wish I had the Inquisitor to fly alongside. :)

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4 hours ago, Estarriol said:

Swarms can be good still. I think the main reason we don’t see more of them is flying even ships for six rounds is a major headache. 

I would disagree only to the point of this. The fancy harder hitting ships usually cost themselves out of a Swarm range once you start adding upgrades. Most swarms are pretty naked ships that are relying on numbers to win instead or upgrades.

I think tournaments have have a lot to do with swarms dying as a play style. Point fortresses and MOV being factors discourage swarms. Trading value for numbers is not appealing in that format. Often times, swarms can swing but it might be 100-78 instead of 100-0 or even 100-35. They can have their 100-24 or 100-12 wins and such but usually a swarm can count on a ship or two going down. 

I personally have been trying to figure out Swarm survival in what will be the upcoming meta. Between higher PS bombers and Harpoons, and turrets and PWT’s everywhere it’s tough to gauge where swarms fit into the grande scheme of things. 

I know @Parakitor and @Magnus Grendel have been like me trying to work swarms in where they can. I’ve run 5 Squint Alphas with AT and been marginally successful. After seeing the 4 Epsilon with Epsilon Ace and Leader, which looks awesome I want to swing that stick and see what happens. I’m half tempted to try 4 Zeta Specialist with LWF or FCS just to see what happens. 

As far as are swarms competitive, let your opponents tell you. I know a local Charity event here eyes got huge staring down 5 squints. I had one guy having to decide to roll Miranda into it a kill box or slam away with no shot and still taking a little fire from all the angels. Bombs eventually did me in, but he was certainly sweating.

Edited by Ronu

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4 hours ago, Ronu said:

I know @Parakitor and @Magnus Grendel have been like me trying to work swarms in where they can. I’ve run 5 Squint Alphas with AT and been marginally successful. After seeing the 4 Epsilon with Epsilon Ace and Leader, which looks awesome I want to swing that stick and see what happens. I’m half tempted to try 4 Zeta Specialist with LWF or FCS just to see what happens. 

1) I'm envious that you have access to 5 Alphas with Autothrusters. I wish I could run that. I only have 4 Alphas and 2 Autothrusters.

2) You should totally try 4x Zeta Specialist with FCS! That sounds mean! I only have 2, and I don't foresee myself picking up another 2 any time soon (I'd also need to pick up another B-wing and TIE phantom for FCS, so I may switch to Lightweight Frame...) Anyway, a squad I've played quite a bit is

Zeta Specialist (Fire-Control System)
Zeta Specialist (Fire-Control System)
Zeta Squadron Pilot
Zeta Ace (Adaptability)
Zeta Leader (Adaptability)

This gives me three PS3 ships and two PS 6 ships, and throws a respectable amount of dice. It's definitely a casual squad. In every game I've played, the TIE/sf's have been the stars, so I can only imagine how awesome flying four of them would be.

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1 hour ago, Parakitor said:

I'm envious that you have access to 5 Alphas with Autothrusters. I wish I could run that. I only have 4 Alphas and 2 Autothrusters.

I'm not in any way looking longingly at the Silencer mostly because it has bloody autothruster upgrades in it......

1 hour ago, Parakitor said:

You should totally try 4x Zeta Specialist with FCS! That sounds mean!

Agreed. I'm not convinced it's necessarily more effective than 4 FCS B-wings, but it's certainly comparable, and people do get shocked by the amount of firepower 4+ ships put out.

6 hours ago, Ronu said:

As far as are swarms competitive, let your opponents tell you. I know a local Charity event here eyes got huge staring down 5 squints.

Agreed. It's the same with strikers. People are largely dismissive of generic ships until they realise they're taking 15 attack dice in one turn on their agility 1 ship-with-all-the-jank, and there are so many arcs of fire, from so many angles, that boosting or barrel rolling doesn't help, even at PS11, because whilst rolling one way might dodge one arc, it puts another into range 1, and vice-versa.

1 hour ago, Parakitor said:

Anyway, a squad I've played quite a bit is

Zeta Specialist (Fire-Control System)
Zeta Specialist (Fire-Control System)
Zeta Squadron Pilot
Zeta Ace (Adaptability)
Zeta Leader (Adaptability)

This gives me three PS3 ships and two PS 6 ships, and throws a respectable amount of dice. It's definitely a casual squad. In every game I've played, the TIE/sf's have been the stars, so I can only imagine how awesome flying four of them would be.

Very nice concept. I do like consistent "squadron units"....

...It is over 100 points, though:

  • Zeta Specialist (23)
    • Spec Ops Training (0)
    • Fire Control System (2)
  • Zeta Specialist (23)
    • Spec Ops Training (0)
    • Fire Control System (2)
  • Zeta Squadron Pilot (16)
  • Zeta Ace (18)
    • Adaptability: Increase (0)
  • Zeta Leader (20)
    • Adaptability: Decrease (0)

Is 104 points.

3 Zeta specialists and Zeta Leader might work nicely?

16 hours ago, Praetorate of the Empire said:

This. I actually just flew against PS 10 Rey Falcon Finn Kanan crew with Soontir last night and he pretty much tore her to pieces. Maybe against a really good Rey player it's an insta-win with a really experienced player, but it is difficult to make that firing arc work against an Interceptor, especially the Baron.

Well done!

Yeah - if you can outfly Rey, she's easy enough to deal with but if she's got Kanan for stress-free backflips and a higher PS than you, that's an impressive tribute to your flying rather than a match that you 'should' have won. Rey has a pretty limited chance of doing much to a focus/evade/autothruster/stealth TIE interceptor outside her arc of fire, but one shot in arc is likely to be 'good night vienna', and you can't boost or roll reactively, so it's impressive that you kept outguessing them.

 

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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6 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Is 104 points.

Shoot. It's been a while since I flew it, so I got it wrong. I didn't use FCS, I gave them Collision Detector and Special Ops Training. Wow. Looking back, I'm even more impressed with how they performed without even equipping FCS. Will edit my post.

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