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Biophysical

I5, I6, and the bid

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It is apparent that the Initiative (formerly PS) race isn't going anywhere.  The meta is new and decidedly unsettled, however, so its not clear, to me, what consititutes a large initiative bid vs a conservative one. 

In an effort to try and understand how one might think about the bid, I have outlined a few different types of squads and how they deal with ships higher or lower in initiative.  I definitely don't think this is exhaustive or definitive, or even necessarily accurate, but it's a starting point, and I thought others might make use of it as well.

 

Archetype 1:  Centerpiece I6 Ace

In this archetype, the I6 Ace is a dominant piece, and the goal of the bid is to beat other I6 bids as often as possible without compromising the squad against jousting ships.  The Ace has to be moving last as much as possible to regularly beat a player of equivalent skill.  Examples:  Fenn, Vader, Poe? (with suitable support).  Expected bid range:  6-10

 

Archetype 2:  Support I6 Ace

In this archetype, the Ace supports a high efficiency jousting squad by providing maneuverability advantages against highly maneuverable I4 or I5 aces.  The bid isn't large, because the support ace is not expected to counter an I6 centerpiece, as the efficiency of the squad is expected to help overcome that opposition.  Example:  Wedge, Soontir, Omega Leader?

Expected Bid Range:  0-2

 

Archetype 3:  Centerpiece I5 Ace

In this archetype, a high maneuverability I5 Ace is the strongest element in the squad.  It uses a high bid to beat other I5s, but relies on squad efficiency to beat I6 aces.  Examples:  Luke, Grand Inquisitor, Kylo?

Expected Bid Range:  4-8

 

Archetype 4:  Dual Ace

A pair of centerpiece I6 aces, or an I6+I5 ace, either with some form of supporting ship (or maybe a giant bid).  The bid is especially important in this squad, as it relies on moving last more than any other type of squad.  

Expected Bid Range:  8-12

 

Does anybody have any thoughts or experiences to elaborate on this?  

 

Note:  upgrades could change one kind of ship into another.  Advanced Sensors, for example, can change Rexler Brath from a jouster into a I5 Centerpiece Ace.  Upgrades could turn Wedge from a support ace to a centerpiece ace (although maybe not a good one).

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Wedge is support because xwings melt fast if you want them dead and he lacks the pre/post movement positioning that some of the "True" aces have.  It has nothing to do with lore but rather the chassis and options available to it.

The bid will come in interesting in 2.0 because of half points.  If you have a 100 point vader and an 85 point vader, the second likely has a bid for movement and bleeding less points in the half point game.

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I like your number evaluations and basically agree with across the board, I do feel , depending on the meta of course, that the single centerpiece  I 6 ace list depends the most on the bid because simply being beaten could cost you so much, especially with all of the Vader we are likely to see, if he moves last there is a good chance he could never see multiple arcs all game.

on the other hand, a duel I 6 list could probably get away with being outbid by a single I 6 ace since dodging two highly maneuverable ships can get a lot harder, 

 

also I’d say there is one more set up that really wants a good bid too, and that’s the I 6 and I5 lists, because both are competitive pieces and would love the positioning advantage at both positions, like fenn and boba/guri and combos like that

 

but at the end of the day if your list is above I 4, you should be aiming at 190 point lists and looking at it hard before adding anything else

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3 minutes ago, Zeoinx said:

Just curious, why is Wedge considered a Support ace instead of a Centerpiece? He never really played "Support" in any of the EU, and lead everything, and was quite litterly the "Centerpiece" of the rebel starfighter corp.

What does that have to do anything?

@Biophysical defined the terms he was using pretty well.

A 'support' ace is one who, in the game of XWM, is not expected to be directly countering other high Initiative aces, but instead is a strong component of a mixed list. That's exactly what Wedge is in 2e. He can't be expected to take on the centrepiece aces like Vader, Luke and Fenn and win because they simply have too many tricks available to them for him to counter (nor does his ability serve to shut down any of their tricks). 

His lack of double reposition also makes him unlikely to be the central arc dodger of a list.

Wedge works with wingmen who want to fly with him, but are effective enough in their own right to take some of the heat off him. Conversely, Wedge is one of those pilots who can effectively take the heat off another major ace. 

Soontir is the same, because he's no longer someone you want to stack a bunch of upgrades on and rely to tank a bunch of damage. Soontir is now a much cheaper hit and run style of ace. Again, he's most effective with other strong ships around him. 

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I think it is also important to review our instincts.

A bid of 3pt at 97 in 1.0 was solid but not yet excessive. Similarly, a 6pt bid at 194 in 2.0 should probably evoke a similar feeling. But I, personally, react differently to the two numbers. Which is entirely irrational.

The other important note was just mentioned by @viedit: are safe points! To expand on his example: in a 100pt vader vs 85pt vader face off, both are worth 100pt. But the former will give up 50pt at half health, the latter only 42. This means that bids are a great trade off as long as there are good alternative choices to spend your points

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What's interesting is that Init 4 will likely keep a point or two of bid to outmaneuver other init 4s. How much a bid init 5/6s will need will depend on how popular other init 5/6 pilots are. (I'm seeing a lot of lists with Ryad and Vessery, not so many Rexler lists)

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Bids probably won't go anywhere, especially if you're running something as TA dependent as a Punisher (without Jendon or something like an Inquistor crew lambda to coordinate you) 

But it's important to raise awareness of high I counters. Basically, any ability that can be resolved before the higher I activates will serve to counter or check them 

Unfortunately, they're like 99% scum...but still

1.) Quad jumper tug

2.) Feedback array block

3.) Rigged Cargo

4.) Mines, though mainly when deployed by Sol. Tie bombers are mini-Sols and Zuvio can hairball them on aces he's blocking

5.) Sense (the new intelligence agent)

6.) Cassian (as above) 

7.) Inquisitor crew coordinate + a ship that can boost/roll or both (Interceptors?) 

 

If you got some of these in your list, your bid matters less 

****, just having enough of an escort (TIE miniswarm) to flood the table with blockers helps a lot 

Edited by ficklegreendice

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7 minutes ago, TheOz said:

if your list is above I 4, you should be aiming at 190 point lists and looking at it hard before adding anything else

That's more or less how I'm approaching it.  It seems a lot of the "optional" upgrades I'd like for an I5-I6 ace are pretty expensive, which means I either skip them and take a big bid or take them and roll the dice on a much smaller bid.  

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Vader is so good at his current cost that I think I wouldn’t even bother with bids at i5. I’d just bring a PLAN for dealing with vader instead. Then if you get outbid by another i5 list you already have some ace-bashing handy.

Edited by TasteTheRainbow

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My personnal take is that there are so few ships that are PS 6 and have mad repositionning skills that the need for a PS bid might only come forward if everyone brings Soontir / Vader / Feen (Scum).  Otherwise, a PS bid might actually be wastefull, but that's just my impression.

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I6 and no less than a 6 point bid.

I call it the I6 & 6 rule.

 

As for I5, 200 points or 8 threat. There is no bid for I5 that can beat I6. IF you go I% might as well drop to I1 &2 swarm list.

Edited by Marinealver

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FFG did something very clever with 2.0, whether it was intentional or not, their change to 200 pt squadrons has everyone thinking about the math differently.  Our view of the points is skewed because we're still thinking in 1.0 terms.  I like the analysis of the point bids, but they may change drastically as people start realizing the 1.0 Soontir build was 70 pts in 2.0 terms.  It may change a lot of game dynamics.

 

Personally, I like builds that can function well moving first or second, requiring only a change in tactics to adjust to the given dynamic.  Moving first against Vader means you keep distance so that your high Init ships shoot first and have something to shoot at, and as Vader approaches, RUN and then turn to fight again once he gives chase.  If he's moving first, get close and stay close.  This seems rather obvious I suppose, but it's something to keep in mind versus any repositioning ace.

 

Wedge is an interesting case.  His ability is actually very powerful - he can make short work of Agi 2 ships, so shooting first does matter.  He can also be a repositioning ace with Afterburners, though he can only pull off a major reposition twice.  He's still a viable major ace in the game (one of my favorites).

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The # of ships isn't as important as the quality of ships

For example, a Howlrunner miniswarm is in a whole different league than a couple Zs

Anything with Biggs might actually survive a round or two against a miniswarm

Etc

You won't need aces or upgrades, but you'll want a plan (and probably support synergy) 

 

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Problem was never shooting aces if you had less pilot skill, it was putting damage through. Without autothrusters, palp weaker, and evade nerf, I dont see aces as that safe you just cant seem to crack. Get multiple arcs out there, they take 1 or 2 shots and plink away at them.

Edited by wurms

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Oh, forgot one!

Airen Cracken is the MAN for enabling low Initiative target locks (though they are red locks), making ordnance a mite more dangerous v aces 

Extra fun with good ol Dutch (proton torps + ICT for vast coverage, aces no like ions)

Edited by ficklegreendice

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32 minutes ago, SOTL said:

From what I'm hearing the squads with Aces are going to be rarities and it's all about how many ships you can put on the table.

Add on top that there simply are fewer choices for I6 pilots.

One scenario is that they will be very common. This erases the need for bids below I6 for most cases. Another scenario are rare I6 aces. Then the bidding war could move mostly to I5. The occasional I6 would still have to take a small bid, but much smaller.

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36 minutes ago, ficklegreendice said:

 Basically, any ability that can be resolved before the higher I activates will serve to counter or check them 

If you got some of these in your list, your bid matters less 

****, just having enough of an escort (TIE miniswarm) to flood the table with blockers helps a lot 

This line of reasoning always interests me. I hope for more threads about it.

 

I usually view initiative and bidding as though it were a baseball game. Every inning the home team bats second giving them that last chance to win the game. X-wing is a bit different in that there are no set number of attacks each round or set number of rounds and the home team bats first. But it's a closer analogy than, say, football that alternates sides per quarter and possession at the half.. which would match better to alternating player initiative every round (something I'd support in x-wing).

So, in a round, as long as all ships shoot and no abilities interfere, relative initiative stays constant. 

But if at any point a ship misses an opportunity to shoot, it essentially struck out that inning and its initiative value is impacted relative to the eneny ship it wanted to shoot but couldn't. That ship it missed, in a purely jousting scenario where the two are directly attacking each other, now has the higher initiative until it misses an opportunity of it's own to shoot. It still shoots second in any given round but in a scenario where it will take an equal number of attacks to kill either ship(you or them), it is currently ahead of the trade.

Basically, if filling your list to point capacity will make you more lethal, and you can fly your way to avoiding a trade more often than the player/ship with initiative that you are facing, then relatively speaking you have the 'upper hand' that they bid to get.

Many other variables to account for - relative survivability of your ships/squad vs theirs probably being prime among them. But initiative value and bids are a more fluid concept outside of pure jousting now that hyper-maneuverability isn't a thing.

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2 hours ago, TasteTheRainbow said:

Vader is so good at his current cost that I think I wouldn’t even bother with bids at i5. I’d just bring a PLAN for dealing with vader instead. Then if you get outbid by another i5 list you already have some ace-bashing handy.

I think there's something to this, but there is a difference.  It looks like we're going to see I5s with higher overall maneuverability than I6.  Wedge, Fenn, and Fel don't have pre-maneuver boost.  Vader does, but takes a damage for it.  

Inquisitor, Luke, Kylo, and Defenders can all get pre maneuver boosts, but obviously can't get max pilot skill.  That's why I5 bids, because i6s are a little more predictable than I5s, and therefore more susceptible to ace counters.

Edited by Biophysical

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Just now, Biophysical said:

I think there's something to this, outctjere is a difference.  It looks like we're going to see I5s with higher overall maneuverability than I6.  Wedge, Fenn, and Fel don't have pre-maneuver boost.  Vader does, but takes a damage for it.  

Inquisitor, Luke, Kylo, and Defenders can all get pre maneuver boosts, but obviously can't get max pilot skill.  That's why I5 bids, because i6s are a little more predictable than I5s, and therefore more susceptible to ace counters.

At the same time, I4 is going to be the most contested inititive value. It is both as high as a generic goes, and the most common named pilot PS. If you're running cool abilities at I4 and want to react to other cool ability I4s, you need a bid as well.

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39 minutes ago, Rakaydos said:

At the same time, I4 is going to be the most contested inititive value. It is both as high as a generic goes, and the most common named pilot PS. If you're running cool abilities at I4 and want to react to other cool ability I4s, you need a bid as well.

I don‘t believe that, but I‘m happy to be wrong on it. It depends on how common I4 really is on the tables and might shift around pretty strongly.

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