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Biophysical

X-wing blog: Starfighter Mafia, Article 13: Ships I like #1, TIE/fo.

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18 hours ago, Biophysical said:

I find it odd how many people haven't thought of this before.  I used it great back in Wave 1 and 2 with Vader and another being the flankers that came in.

You said there wasn't a name for this strategy, but I always called it a "true swarm". Tie Formations are not really swarms, but what you are describing is exactly what a swarm is.  Moving in a flexible manner towards encircling your opponent is my definition of a swarm.

There is a lot of nuance to the strategy, too, where you can bait someone.  Let's say in your example, the X-wing facing the B-wings didn't move far enough to get in shooting range.  The B-wings have now committed and don't have any shots.  What do they do next turn?  Go for the same T-65?  Split up?  It really puts them into a bind.

Baiting and switching is a great way strategy.  Having the bait ship either zoom off or perhaps rush up and go for a block can be effective.   I tend to prefer the block as it means you will have some enemy without tokens in the kill box for the others, even if that ship gets no shot.  

Another thing that is good is that you can trap ship types that want to try to Boost away from the kill box.  

There is danger, though, in your opponent getting shots on some of your swarm as it moves in.  If you make the mistake and let one ship get too close it could be caught by an unexpectedly aggressive move by your opponent.  Happens mostly when one ship goes one way around an obstacle.

Beware of wiley opponents who will shift towards a new target other than your bait ship.  It could leave you in a weak spot and unsupported.  It could also take practice to time all your ships well enough that you can hit them at one time.

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21 minutes ago, heychadwick said:

Beware of wiley opponents who will shift towards a new target other than your bait ship.  It could leave you in a weak spot and unsupported.  It could also take practice to time all your ships well enough that you can hit them at one time.

This points to what I find some of the most fun/interesting/rewarding parts of the game...reading your opponent, their squad, and if/when they're going to keep after the bait ship....and when/how do you turn that bait ship in to fight?  It feels bad to bail out with that ship on the turn your opponent turned their squad toward something else.  It feels great when you turn in on the turn your opponent turned their squad toward something else.

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Just now, gennataos said:

This points to what I find some of the most fun/interesting/rewarding parts of the game...reading your opponent, their squad, and if/when they're going to keep after the bait ship....and when/how do you turn that bait ship in to fight?  It feels bad to bail out with that ship on the turn your opponent turned their squad toward something else.  It feels great when you turn in on the turn your opponent turned their squad toward something else.

Agreed.  I like setting the trap, but when your opponent sees it, I will slow roll with some parts and that often works better for you,  if the object of their new focus is able to get away.  Maybe the turn off...or maybe they head in for a block.  It's reading my opponent that makes it fun, even if I guess horribly wrong! :D

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On 8/12/2019 at 8:09 AM, heychadwick said:

I find it odd how many people haven't thought of this before.  I used it great back in Wave 1 and 2 with Vader and another being the flankers that came in.

You said there wasn't a name for this strategy, but I always called it a "true swarm". Tie Formations are not really swarms, but what you are describing is exactly what a swarm is.  Moving in a flexible manner towards encircling your opponent is my definition of a swarm.

There is a lot of nuance to the strategy, too, where you can bait someone.  Let's say in your example, the X-wing facing the B-wings didn't move far enough to get in shooting range.  The B-wings have now committed and don't have any shots.  What do they do next turn?  Go for the same T-65?  Split up?  It really puts them into a bind.

Baiting and switching is a great way strategy.  Having the bait ship either zoom off or perhaps rush up and go for a block can be effective.   I tend to prefer the block as it means you will have some enemy without tokens in the kill box for the others, even if that ship gets no shot.  

Another thing that is good is that you can trap ship types that want to try to Boost away from the kill box.  

There is danger, though, in your opponent getting shots on some of your swarm as it moves in.  If you make the mistake and let one ship get too close it could be caught by an unexpectedly aggressive move by your opponent.  Happens mostly when one ship goes one way around an obstacle.

Beware of wiley opponents who will shift towards a new target other than your bait ship.  It could leave you in a weak spot and unsupported.  It could also take practice to time all your ships well enough that you can hit them at one time.

The "True Swarm" is great at this kind of thing, because some part of it always has good moves.  I'm starting to get some 2.0 experience with TIE/fos finally, and they get a little more out of a dispersed formation than regular TIE Fighters because they can Lock on their off turns and they're harder to initiative kill if one gets caught out.  

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1 hour ago, Biophysical said:

The "True Swarm" is great at this kind of thing, because some part of it always has good moves.  I'm starting to get some 2.0 experience with TIE/fos finally, and they get a little more out of a dispersed formation than regular TIE Fighters because they can Lock on their off turns and they're harder to initiative kill if one gets caught out.  

I can see their extra shield might keep one alive when a regular Tie dies.  Yes, its only a shield, but with 3 green dice, you never know...

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1 hour ago, heychadwick said:

I can see their extra shield might keep one alive when a regular Tie dies.  Yes, its only a shield, but with 3 green dice, you never know...

We've all seen when TIE Fighters die to one shot, and when they live forever because their greens are hot.  The extra shield makes the first situation a lot less likely and the second situation a bit more likely.

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Posted (edited)

Solid little filler ship, but mostly outclassed by the oh-so-nice TIE/sf, for just a few points more.  6 points is totally worth it to upgrade from Epsilon Cadet FO to Zeta Survivor SF.

Edited by theBitterFig

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2 minutes ago, theBitterFig said:

Solid little filler ship, but mostly outclassed by the oh-so-nice TIE/sf, for just a few points more.  6 points is totally worth it to upgrade from Epsilon Cadet FO to Zeta Survivor SF.

Let's say you're taking 3 SFs, downgrading to FOs is 18 points, which is most of the way to another ship.  That 4th filler ship definitely matters, if it works in the squad.

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2 hours ago, Biophysical said:

Let's say you're taking 3 SFs, downgrading to FOs is 18 points, which is most of the way to another ship.  That 4th filler ship definitely matters, if it works in the squad.

So a friend of mine has been doing well with Kylo, QD, and 2x Zeta SFs (just went top 4 at a local HST). There's only 1 point of bid with Fanatical/FCS on QD, and Kylo doesn't have any toys.  Swapping down to TIE/fo would give more points, but... I can't really see that it'd make the list better.  SFs have two firing arcs, they have about an extra shield's worth of toughness (which costs 6 points, so the rear arc is kinda free), they still move quite well with both slow and fast moves.

Don't get me wrong, I like TIE/fo, and I think they're decent filler.  Blows the pants off of a filler TIE Fighter (Howl/Inferno swarm is a different beast entirely) or Z-95 in the same basic price range.   Named pilots are often cool drop-ins*.  I'm sure there are lists and break-points where it makes more sense to go with the FO over the SF.  But in general, I think the SF is worth the extra cost.

 

 

 

 

 

* I was trying out Null + 4x Gunner Zetas on casual day.  I kinda wasted Null, should have fled rather than turned back in, but I like the thought of what they could do in a list like that.  Bait and run while the jousters get position, and then slide in and try to finish folks off at Init 7 once the scrum has begun.

Scorch is solid, 36 with Fanatical.  Same as an Optics Zeta, but a nice, cheap gun at decent Init 4.

Lieutenant Rivas is an amazing blocker/filler ship.  +2 points over an Epsilon Cadet, with a free-locks ability, that'll even work when he's stressed.

Midnight hasn't seen too much action in 2e, but he really feels like he's got potential as late-game clean up.  Jedi unable to use the Force?  Love it.

And yet... Backdraft is 39 points... so hard to take a FO--which I like--over a SF...

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I feel the generic I3 Tie/SF's are now 1pt undercosted, possibly the I2's too. Backdraft is fine at 39 but +5pts over an I3 is too much of a gap and BD shouldn't come down. 

 

It would help open up the viability and value of the FO's. 

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8 hours ago, theBitterFig said:

So a friend of mine has been doing well with Kylo, QD, and 2x Zeta SFs (just went top 4 at a local HST). There's only 1 point of bid with Fanatical/FCS on QD, and Kylo doesn't have any toys.  Swapping down to TIE/fo would give more points, but... I can't really see that it'd make the list better.  SFs have two firing arcs, they have about an extra shield's worth of toughness (which costs 6 points, so the rear arc is kinda free), they still move quite well with both slow and fast moves.

Don't get me wrong, I like TIE/fo, and I think they're decent filler.  Blows the pants off of a filler TIE Fighter (Howl/Inferno swarm is a different beast entirely) or Z-95 in the same basic price range.   Named pilots are often cool drop-ins*.  I'm sure there are lists and break-points where it makes more sense to go with the FO over the SF.  But in general, I think the SF is worth the extra cost.

Having run both SFs and FOs, all I can say is the extra FO feels a lot different.  On paper, I agree with you, the SF seems a lot better.  On the table, it's different, and I dont really have a good explanation for you. 

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57 minutes ago, Biophysical said:

Having run both SFs and FOs, all I can say is the extra FO feels a lot different.  On paper, I agree with you, the SF seems a lot better.  On the table, it's different, and I dont really have a good explanation for you. 

I get that.

And again, I think it's a decent ship for what it does.

But them SFs, tho...

3 hours ago, Deffly said:

I feel the generic I3 Tie/SF's are now 1pt undercosted, possibly the I2's too. Backdraft is fine at 39 but +5pts over an I3 is too much of a gap and BD shouldn't come down. 

 

It would help open up the viability and value of the FO's. 

I've been saying to a friend of mine: the same price for low/high generics for both TIE/sfs and RZ-2s seems right. SF is about a hit-point tougher and doesn't have to worry about arc facing, the A-Wing has boost.  SF seems easier to use, but the A-Wing has a major potential to just outfly someone, mostly due to Boost.  Feels more like a playstyle difference, than a power-level difference.

//

I don't mind the price gap on BD, since it's an extra-die ability.  Those are often pricey.

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I figured out another way to express my thoughts on this.

Suppose the TIE/sf cost 6 points more baseline, but the Special Forces Gunner was only 4 points.  Non-gunner SF variants come off the table, Gunner SFs still do a decent job as a medium Jouster.  Now, the only First Order filler ship is the TIE/fo.  I think it'd do that job very well.

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Good article, thanks! I’ve been neglecting the FO largely due to the value of the SF currently.

However, after reading this I had a play and realised I can fit a Optics Kylo, Lone Wolf Blackout with 2 of the cheapest FO generics. 

That seems pretty fun with the FOs running interference for the aces. Could easily be hate on Kylo to fit fanatical/optics Blackout as well.

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