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GreenDragoon

The Elephant in the Room: how do you beat Kanan Fenn?

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I just finished listening to Krayts, Mynocks and Goldsquadron podcasts. It is clear that the VCX-100, Fenn and Zeb list is not just up and coming but already here.

  • How do you beat it?
  • Which lists are good, and which have a bad time?
  • Any specific tactics or tricks that help against it? 

The list has various ways of specific loadouts, but key components are:

  • Fenn + VI + (often) HSCP + FAA/R2/M9G8
  • a VCX + TLT + EU + (often) Sensor Jammer +  Crew
  • Zeb

The VCX sees quite some variation. It can be Kanan, Chopper or Lothal. The crew is often Rey, Recon Specialist and other crew connected to Focus. One intriguing version is Ezra+Maul, giving double modification to all 2out of 4 TLT shots. The system slot can also be FCS, but Sensor Jammer saves you some shield&hull after Fenn stripped off the token with HSCP or prevents someone from spending it with his ability.

The whole build is great!

So, how do we beat it?

 

Edit: Solutions (user in brackets who mentioned the idea)

  • Bring Boba and neutralize TLT (thespaceinvader)
  • Stay in range 3 and bring autothrusters (thespaceinvader)
  • Dodge Fenn's arc and don't let him stop you modifying your shots (Astech)
  • Ion control (Astech). Was demonstrated at the Kraytcup last weekend with 2 Controlbrobots (who still lost to time, but the idea is good)
  • Quad TLT (Astech)
  • lots of red dice (FTS Gecko)
Edited by GreenDragoon
Edit: corrected Ezra+Maul effect

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35 minutes ago, GreenDragoon said:

One intriguing version is Ezra+Maul, giving double modification to all 4 TLT shots.

You get the double mods only if you actually hit. Though using Maul and Ezra Crew on the Ghost seems like a rather fun option, but don't forget that Maul only allows to reroll dice when you have no stress and only removes stress after the attack, which means in case of the TLTs after two "attacks". 

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Dodge Fenn's arc, and after that focus down the Ghost. Alternatively, focus down Fenn - he's only an AGI 2 ship, so it's "not that hard [tm]".

Bombs are great - especially Sabine backed ones, since Fenn's dead in three turns pretty much no matter what he does.

Intriguingly - Scum Fenn is a great counter to the list. Even with the Kanan + Fenn nerfs, he's still rolling 4 dice, which will do damage over time. He's so defensively powerful that nothing will hit him (dodge the TLT or tank the R1 primary). The rest of the list is icing on the cake. Fenn also happens to win the 1v1 endgame against a full health Ghost most of the time.

Dare I say it, but Thug Life (4 TLT Y-wings) will also shred the list - the Ghost is dead in 4 turns no matter what they do.

Finally, Ion control is amazing against a Ghost. Slow play near a corner of the board and wait for them to come to you, then ionise the Ghost off the board.

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Attack Fenn with a couple ships from outside of arc over multiple rounds. Then burn down kanan. Roll one unmodifed missile shot at Fenn from arc then roll another from a different ship outside of arc modified. Trust the dice. They wont fail you. If Kanan doesnt have enginge upgrade the entire matchup is actually much easier. 

PS11 helps with all of this but so does any flanker bait that Fenn cant ignore. 

As with Timewalk Assaj the other thing that actually works really really well is splitting fire. Its not uncommon to end up in spots where you can shoot Kanan without Fenn's interference. Do it. 

Also Range 3 is not always a good place to be against this. Depending on your list you want to be close and dancing inside of both Fenns and Kanans tiny blind spots.

Drag both ships into the corners to. Fenn's movement options are more limited there. 

Last point, Fenn should be dead within the first two rounds of combat. If hes not your opponent most likely out played you. 

Edited by Boom Owl

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18 minutes ago, Astech said:

Dodge Fenn's arc, and after that focus down the Ghost. Alternatively, focus down Fenn - he's only an AGI 2 ship, so it's "not that hard [tm]".

He rolls one extra green for the tactical jammer.

Fenn Rau in a Fang will might btw only get one damage into Kanan if the VCX had time to stock up tokens on Rey, so that the actions are free to take evades. You end up with four naked dice against one evade and the sensor jammer. That's on average one damage without the jammer, and only .4 damage with the usual sensor jammer config. So you better have something that actually can do more damage. ;-)

Besides, the range 1 shot from the ghost is doing  2 damage to Fenn if hotcop did strip his focus token and the 4 TLT-rolls are doing just as good. So you could get in with Fenn Rau basically for two turns before losing him. 
Fenn Rau does not seem to be the answer. 

Now Dash at the other hand can deal still reliable damage and avoid at least some of the TLT shots. 

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That is a beast list for most all arced lists, head to head.

Remember, Kanan starts in the corner with Fenn trailing, usually.

How about bait? What if Kanan flies off the board? ...or at least gets into a movement bind? Then, sweating it out, flying into trouble. (nice next to last sentence @Boom Owl)

Remember flying these fantastic miniatures back in the day?

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, That Blasted Samophlange said:

Quick question; does ruthlessness trigger on a docked Phantom or Phantom II?  I'm guessing no.

No.  The phantom is not in play.

Ions would be a solid way to play against this.  Ions are really good generally at the moment - the struggle is that there are really not many platforms capable of delivering them effectively.

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Asajj Ventress to control where Fenn is going or stress him.

Expertise/Dengar(Crew) on a boat makes rude gestures to Fenn Rau.

Call in Scum's venerable bouncer, the Bumpmaster,  to wrassle the list. Better yet, call in three for wrasslin', no escape.

Set Thweek with a bid to hunt down Fenn Rau. Imagine as you play that you can taste his fear.

Invisible never-attack Quadtugger with EMP Device and Spacetug Tractor Array.

DACE BONEARM MAYBE!? (Probably not) Ion Y-Wings? (Plausible)

The best part is even with all this stuff you still gotta fly your dump-truck off to get that W. Also all these suggestions are fairly vesatile. Bonus!

 

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The standard Kanan with FCS and lots of focus doesn't like the opponent having their own Fenn to mess with his mods.

Likewise, Scum lists should keep Thweek in mind to use Fenn's pilot ability on Kanan.

Any game involving the ghost is a damage race, slow their damage output down and keep as many guns on target as possible.

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8 minutes ago, Celestial Lizards said:

Why is Kanan-Fenn good enough to warrant a discussion on how to beat it?

Because with it's tricks, it can be difficult for 2-3 ship builds to take down before time in a standard 75 minute round, and with four TLT shots per round it can win the damage output race against them.  And you know the meta loves it's 2-3 ship builds.

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3 minutes ago, Celestial Lizards said:

Why is Kanan-Fenn good enough to warrant a discussion on how to beat it?

Kanan with TLT, rec spec, and rey, and sensor jammer + Fenn VI & HSCP+ M9G8:

Fenn shoots first, hscp strips focus, then when you shoot Kanan, he spends 1 of his focus tokens to reduce 1 of your attack dice, 

Then Fenn takes a stress to stop you from modifying dice with tokens. You shoot at Fenn, the evade token +2 evade dice you have limited success putting damage in him (probably 2 unmodified dice). Worse, you shoot at Kanan and one of your hits gets turned to a focus from sensor jammer. Remember how Fenn stripped your focus token? Yeah that was neat.

So against the 0 agility ship you are lucky to get 1 hit. If Kanan took an evade because he had Rey to give him a focu, you probably got 0 hits on a 0 agi tank.

Then Kanan shoots back with his TLT modified by M9-G8 and your ship minus a focus token takes 4 damage over 2 TLT attacks (Ghost double tap).

It is a brutal list to face that I found was pretty much an NPE.

Maybe a swarm? Snap shot Juke A wings with  swarm leader Jess for 5-6 dice attacks to neuter Kanan? Her rerolls also are not affected by Fenn.

 

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The frustrating thing is that Fenn's ability further rewards passive dice modification abilities (Predator, Expertise, Guidance Chips, Dengar crew, etc.), which were already very good and now are pretty much essential. It's annoying that some of the most powerful dice modification abilities in the game are also the ones that are immune to action countering abilities. See also: bullseye arcs shutting down tokens but having no effect on ability-based modifications.

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23 minutes ago, FTS Gecko said:

Because with it's tricks, it can be difficult for 2-3 ship builds to take down before time in a standard 75 minute round, and with four TLT shots per round it can win the damage output race against them.  And you know the meta loves it's 2-3 ship builds.

This. 4-5 ships is rarely a thing at tournaments, but it's surprising how quickly squads like this run out of once-per-turn tricks when facing a decent handful of ships.

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3 hours ago, FTS Gecko said:

The more red dice, the merrier.

I'm going to repeat my earlier observation.  A good old fashioned TIE swarm will theoretically wreck Kanan/Fenn every time.

Kanan/Fenn is (essentially) a hard counter to the 2-3 ship meta.  Passive modifications (as @Transmogrifier points out above) and Gunner effect help mitigate it's effects, but it's still a tough, unfun match up.

Swarms and Heavy Swarms should eat it alive, though.

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