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Marinealver

Lets Talk About Epic, Wave 2 and the Rebel Transport.

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So with Wave 2 it might have been the start of the most controversial mechanics in X-wing. The start of turrets and out of arc attacks. They also brought out the one thing that these were essential in countering Interceptors. This was also when ships have moved outside the small square into the one 4 times larger, and then the later huge ship types. For this we are going to focus on Wave 2 and the first Huge Ship the GR-75.

So first lets talk about the small ships the TIE Interceptor and the A-wing. These were ships that took the stress management with ease with green turns and high speed green straights where taking a K-turn wasn't as much of a penalty as it would be for an X-wing or a TIE Fighter.  The downside was the lack of hit points, for more than the cost they were both at a low set of hit points. Granted they both had the high agility value of 3 green dice were ever fickle. Still the maximum speed has been 5 and even with the A-wing having a green 5 straight making it theoretically the fastest ship it doesn't change much on the larger 3 x 6 play area. The A-wings had low firepower but were a bit harder thanks to 2 shield tokens over 2 hull. TIE Interceptors were a glass cannon with the coveted (at the time) 3 firepower but were as fragile as the cheaper TIE Fighter. 5 TIE Interceptor list did not replace 7 TIE Fighter lists however with the 0 agility of the upcoming huge ships the higher firepower would be more welcomed. But when loading up a high point cost Ace in larger games their fragility becomes much more profound and it is soon realized it is better to invest in quantity over quality.

However the big change (pun may be intended) was with new ship base sized. These flying fortress were larger so taking one would drastically reduce the number of ships you could take to a standard 100 point match, but it made for filling up those 200 to 300 point Epic matches easier. The biggest advantage is they no longer limited to the strafing runs facing the ship that the smaller ships had to do. The firespray had a rear arc so as they both approach and depart they can still fire at the huge ship, while the YT-1300 just had to be in range 3. They also had new upgrade slots to include the <crew> upgrade which would also be used in huge ships but also the title and modification upgrades which essentially gave every ship 2 upgrade slots even for ships with no upgrade slots (i.e. TIE Fighter, TIE Interceptor). 

But now onto the whole reason for the format the huge ship. The First Huge ship was a unarmed rebel transport. This was new so unlike large ships that just used the standard maneuver template they had to come up with something different and that is the huge ship maneuver tool. Unlike the templates they did not allow for huge ships to add their base size to the maneuver. Thus they were slower than the smaller ships. The huge ship 2 straight would be equal to a small ship 1 straight. They were slower turns using a 30 degree bank instead of the 45 degree bank. However with that the stress management of the standard ship maneuvers had to be changed and thus energy was introduced. However because of energy it took the firepower spot on the ship card this ship was unarmed. Instead of a dial on which color could add or remove stress, this dial would add energy, less strainful and slow maneuvers would give the most energy, while turns and higher speed maneuvers would grant little or even no energy at all as with the 4 straight on the GR-75. In addition they also had to give new actions to separate the huge ship from all the other ships as the result of a crew working together than a lone pilot taking the initiative. Thus the huge ship actions of coordinate, recover, reinforce, and jam was given. The transport had no weapons in the movie so they included an escort the repainted X-wing. This wasn't an intended fix for the T-65 but just a way to include more pilots from the movie such as Jek and Hobbie. Furthermore Huge ship had no attack but if they hit something it was removed from the table be it obstacle or ship. Also new upgrade slot the cargo which had a variety of functions and the crew would be used to help the huge ship as a support role. There was some upgrades that used energy and could turn stress form either red moves or the new jam action into damage. Huge ships had 0 agility so they had to defend themselves by actions. Reinforce acts as a permanent evade for only half the ship. Recovery can gain lost shield tokens.

So A-wings, low damage output at the time means they didn't have much lay, but since they served their roll as fighter to fighter and only the rebels had huge ships they were found as Escorts along with the X-wings that accompanied the Transports.

TIE Interceptors proved the 3 Firepower more than made up for lack of torpedo or missile slot for taking down huge ships. But their fragile frames made the generic more useful than the fearsome aces, as they could be focused down and shot.

The Firespray brought with it some fearsome firepower with the HLC. Which could cancel the rage 3 agility die that the 0 agility transport only natural defense. They also brought with them the bomb tokens which could be placed near the smaller huge ships and detonate but often it was better just to shoot them. The firespray also brought in some Area of Effect damage in the form of assault missiles and seismic charges. Now these were too expensive to even effect the TIE Swarm meta at the time, and given the larger play area of epic, even with 3 times as many ships the area of effect damage would not find that much of a place in epic.

The YT-1300 proved to be a flying fortress of sorts but it is unique in a way that the generics were different ships than the named pilots in terms of stats and upgrades. So the ORS would not be much of a threat to huge ships and the named pilots would be few so they couldn't mass up like the other ships. Still huge ships were not the rebel targets as they were the only faction to have one so hitting the TIE Fighters and Interceptors that would swarm the huge ship was the consideration. The falcon also came with the new title and modifications which essentially gave slot less ships like the TIE Fighter and TIE Interceptor 2 upgrade slots, title and modification. For the falcon most of the modifications could upgrade a stat like shields, but the most controversial one was the engine upgrade. Which essentially made the new boost action available for everyone, thus having a native boost in your upgrade bar was nothing special.

The X-wing didn't change much although it did point out that huge ship expansions were the perfect product to re-release a ship.

The GR-75 the first huge ship and a series of huge ship mechanics and rule exceptions, that started it all. Next we will get to wave 3 with the not so terrifying bombers, and the Rebel gunship that had the devs so worried they nerfed it harder than the jumpmaster before it came out.

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At first glance, the A-Wings seemed to be a great Huge ship hunter.  They could take the new Concusion missiles.  For this 4 dice attack the most likely roll result is hit, hit, focus, blank nut they can change that blank into a hit..  Compare this to the Proton torpedo which can convert a focus to a Crit.  On a naked roll, one is likely to result in 3 hits while the other would be a crit and 2 hits or a slight edge in damage potential for the Proton.  If you are able to stack a target lock on a previous turn and fire with a focus token, the Concussion missile starts to get a higher average damage potential.

The Green Squadron Pliot also gave the A-Wing a generic pilot choice with an available EPT slot.  The new Deadeye EPT seemed a perfect fit to get those missile shots off against your choice of targets instead of having to show your opponent your intended target as wells as allowing the ability to shoot even when the opponent is out of range after the A-Wing performs its maneuver before higher PS pilots.  With its outstanding choices of green maneuvers, however, the A-Wing pilots are just begging to use the new Push the Limit ept.  Why settle for naked missile shots when you can spend your lock and still have a focus to fire.  Then once your ordnance is spent, you can take a focus and an evade to combine with your 3 agility to make for a nearly unhittable little gnat of a ship.

All of this is just a thought experiment though as there was as of yet, no Imperial Huge ship for the A-Wing to hunt.  Luckily they also had the Homing missile designed specifically to take out the agile and dodgy Tie variants that always seemed to have evade tokens on every one of them.  In the end, though, the high cost of both the chassis and the ordnance meant A-Wings were seldom able to pull their weight against the cheap masses of Tie/Ln and Tie Interceptors that the Empire could throw at them.

 

The Tie Interceptor faced a similar problem as the A-Wing.  They had great firepower and maneuverability.  In a 2 on 2 battle of  Interceptor aces vs aces flying most other fighters in the galaxy, they will often come out on top.  In the massive furballs that occur in an Epic battle, however, there are just too many guns taking pot shots.  Even the nimble interceptors can not dodge all the shots and those evade tokens run out fast.  For 72 points, you could take 6 Ties or 4 Interceptors with either group having a total of 12 red dice to throw.  But after two of your ships are destroyed by the higher PS Rookie Pilots in their X-Wings that they were facing, that left you either 2 Ints or 4 Ties and suddenly you had only 6 reds vs 8 to shoot back with.  While things like the Targeting Computer modification, or the shield and hull upgrade options could help out the Interceptors to be a little more punchy or a little less fragile, it also made them even more costly to field.  The choice was very clear, the better dial and better attack power were not enough to account for having less total hull, reds and arcs on the mat.

 

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12 hours ago, pickirk01 said:

At first glance, the A-Wings seemed to be a great Huge ship hunter.  They could take the new Concusion missiles.  For this 4 dice attack the most likely roll result is hit, hit, focus, blank nut they can change that blank into a hit..  Compare this to the Proton torpedo which can convert a focus to a Crit.  On a naked roll, one is likely to result in 3 hits while the other would be a crit and 2 hits or a slight edge in damage potential for the Proton.  If you are able to stack a target lock on a previous turn and fire with a focus token, the Concussion missile starts to get a higher average damage potential.

The Green Squadron Pliot also gave the A-Wing a generic pilot choice with an available EPT slot.  The new Deadeye EPT seemed a perfect fit to get those missile shots off against your choice of targets instead of having to show your opponent your intended target as wells as allowing the ability to shoot even when the opponent is out of range after the A-Wing performs its maneuver before higher PS pilots.  With its outstanding choices of green maneuvers, however, the A-Wing pilots are just begging to use the new Push the Limit ept.  Why settle for naked missile shots when you can spend your lock and still have a focus to fire.  Then once your ordnance is spent, you can take a focus and an evade to combine with your 3 agility to make for a nearly unhittable little gnat of a ship.

All of this is just a thought experiment though as there was as of yet, no Imperial Huge ship for the A-Wing to hunt.  Luckily they also had the Homing missile designed specifically to take out the agile and dodgy Tie variants that always seemed to have evade tokens on every one of them.  In the end, though, the high cost of both the chassis and the ordnance meant A-Wings were seldom able to pull their weight against the cheap masses of Tie/Ln and Tie Interceptors that the Empire could throw at them.

...

 

Now the A-wing could very much likely be built into a huge ship hunter but back then it wasn't much but again it was designed for Rebel on Imperial action. The mirror wasn't taken into account as it is now.

As for concussion missiles (and I'll get to this on Wave 3 when I talk about the TIE Bomber) is that a single 4 dice attack is no match for 3 firepower with rerolls. Granted the TIE Interceptor had no target lock (until Imperial Aces) but high primary firepower did much more for dealing out damage than the weak secondary weapons of the time.

Edited by Marinealver

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5 hours ago, Marinealver said:

Now the A-wing could very much likely be built into a huge ship hunter but back then it wasn't much but again it was designed for Rebel on Imperial action. The mirror wasn't taken into account as it is now.

As for concussion missiles (and I'll get to this on Wave 3 when I talk about the TIE Bomber) is that a single 4 dice attack is no match for 3 firepower with rerolls. Granted the TIE Interceptor had no target lock (until Imperial Aces) but high primary firepower did much more for dealing out damage than the week secondary weapons of the time.

I agree on all counts.

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The most important thing for Epic about Wave II and for Star Wars fans was the cinematic.  You could bring Lando with Nien and gunner along with Wedge and some Red Squadron Pilots and Tycho, Arvil and a couple Green Squadron Pilots and you could run the second Death Star battle.

All you had to do was pretend your Transport was a Medical Frigate and you were golden!

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6 hours ago, pickirk01 said:

The most important thing for Epic about Wave II and for Star Wars fans was the cinematic.  You could bring Lando with Nien and gunner along with Wedge and some Red Squadron Pilots and Tycho, Arvil and a couple Green Squadron Pilots and you could run the second Death Star battle.

All you had to do was pretend your Transport was a Medical Frigate and you were golden!

Well the huge ships at the time were designed more for the cinematic than the competitive free build tournaments. Which is also why in my post I focused on the Rebel vs Imperial aspect and did not compare the Rebel ships against other huge ships since that would be Rebels vs Rebels. Heck in one of the cinematic campaign they have 3 transports trying to run from an Imperial blockade around Hoth, although it is hard to get 3 transports on the table. Later huge ship campaigns would be more within reason.

Edited by Marinealver

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