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Getting Over the Jousting Syndrome

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No matter what list I have, my tendency is to immediately try to go straight into the action and joust with my opponent. I think it's because when I first got into the game, I was using 3 B-wing or 3 A-wing lists. I would fly in, shoot off ordinance (RIP Harpoons), and get out.

However, the lists I'm learning to fly with 2.0 aren't quite set up the same way but I keep falling back into the pattern of going into the action sooner than I should, especially when I'm out-numbered.

I just listened to the most recent Radio TCX podcast where Carson Wray (I'd tag him if I knew he was on here or what his user name is) talked about his strategy in Phoneix last week using a Poe, Numb, and L'ulo list. Given the lower health of these ships, he talked about avoiding jousts and working on flanking the opponent. Obviously he's better than the average X-Wing player but I'd still like some basic insights into how to set a plan like that in motion.

This is a long-winded way to say, what can you do to avoid the itch to joust?

 

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4 minutes ago, BlodVargarna said:

Obstacle placement is key. 

 

Also go with the mindset that you are not going to go head to head. 

Obstacles are the one thing that the more I spent time thinking about the less it seems I get right. 

I'm planning on watching the Top 8 games that GSP broadcasted last week in Phoenix to see how those players approached the setup.

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Everything happens at setup: 

The Joust: When jousting you tend to place you ships in formation together and facing the enemy and then keeping formation you approach the enemy  head-on and focus fire, and that "barrage" will hopefully do more damage on the opponent that he does to you. If successful, you won the joust. Rinse repeat.

The Gambit: If you are trying to avoid the joust, you have to setup your ships far apart from eachother on your side of the board. This makes it difficult for your opponent to decide which ship to target and focus on.  When opening you approach the enemy ships from different directions such that the opponent can only focus on one (group) of ship(s) and the remaining flanking ships are flying towards the enemy ships without having any enemy guns pointing at them. Just when you get in range, you disengage hard with the ship - "the bait" - your opponent is targeting with his ships. If you are successful your flanking group of ships will have shoots at the enemy ships and do damage without the risk of return fire - and your "bait" ship will escape also unscathed. If successful, you managed to flank the enemy. Rinse repeat.    

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3 minutes ago, Sciencius said:

The Gambit: If you are trying to avoid the joust, you have to setup your ships far apart from eachother on your side of the board.

I disagree with this.  You can set up for a joust and still end up in a flank, if you have ships with good movement profiles and you plan your moves appropriately.

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1 minute ago, thespaceinvader said:

I disagree with this.  You can set up for a joust and still end up in a flank, if you have ships with good movement profiles and you plan your moves appropriately.

I am sure a competent flanker with the appropriate ships as you mention would be able to flank - but why would you give yourself that disadvantage? 

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4 minutes ago, thespaceinvader said:

I disagree with this.  You can set up for a joust and still end up in a flank, if you have ships with good movement profiles and you plan your moves appropriately.

That's the part that gets me hung with my current list (Tavson, QD, Recoil). I want to keep everyone close enough for Tavson to be able to coordinate to. I would find a spare point for the biohexacrypt codes but that's not a hyperspace-legal upgrade.

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2 minutes ago, thespaceinvader said:

thast's not a list you're going to have an easy time getting there with, especialy if you want to maintain the coord on both ships.  You have to choose one that gets away.  And ideally give it Afterburners.

I suppose I could shift the strategy to let Tavson be self-sufficient. Instead of coordinating to the others, offer him up first. As they shoot, use his ability to gain locks and focus tokens. If I deck him out with PerCo and Adv Optics, he can punch back pretty hard. So reinforce, then after taking shots, potentially TL and double-focus. He becomes a solo threat for a few rounds. Then I can bring the others in to clean up what's left. 

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In my rookie expierence, your opening moves should be practiced similar in chess.  Place your ships on the Baird in the most ideal flanking position, then work the moves backwards to turn 0.  Then play forward to see if you can end up in the same place.  Now, pick another kill box location and try to repeat.  

 

Disclaimer:

This is works great for me in practice, somehow it falls apart in a match.  It’s like the opponent doesn’t want to follow my script. 😉

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A couple of things. No matter how you set or start, sometimes it just pays to go slow and see where an opponent goes. Be Patient! Nothing anywhere says you have to engage on round 2. I ran a full on swarm yesterday. First move was a simple 2 strait and waited to see where and how my opponent chose to approach and how quickly. When he didn’t immediately turn towards me, I saw where he might try to race to the side and come across from behind, so I turned part of th squad to cut off that route, brought a pair towards the middle in case he banked in as I might expect, and two kept going up the board to find room to cut him off should he do something really unexpected. Only 3 ships total engaged round 2 based on where he went with his ships. 

Target priority also has a lot to do with Jousting vs an alternative. If you’re facing a ship that wants to joust and is as good or better than yours at it, then it probably doesn’t like to do something, like turning, so make it do what it doesn’t want to do. Have a real squirrel to fight? They tend to not like boxes and multiple arcs at multiple angles cause they are going to get shot at and don’t hold up well under fire. 

Lastly, and this is the hardest part outside of being patient. Be willing to do something unexpected. Sometimes it’s okay to hold  stress to be in  better position. Disengage for no reason than to use a ships maneuverability to your advantage. 

 

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1 hour ago, Ccwebb said:

In my rookie expierence, your opening moves should be practiced similar in chess.  Place your ships on the Baird in the most ideal flanking position, then work the moves backwards to turn 0.  Then play forward to see if you can end up in the same place.  Now, pick another kill box location and try to repeat.  

 

Disclaimer:

This is works great for me in practice, somehow it falls apart in a match.  It’s like the opponent doesn’t want to follow my script. 😉

In addition to just plain getting more games in, I also need to work on understanding movements on the table. Especially with the Upsilon. Last game I played, I knew I lost after one bad movement that kept it away from the action for three turns.

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3 hours ago, Sciencius said:

I am sure a competent flanker with the appropriate ships as you mention would be able to flank - but why would you give yourself that disadvantage? 

its called a feint.  back in the Bro-bot days I'd set up and feint a joust with my IGs turn one then A.S. evades, signors loop opposite directions and create a "dead mans canyon" type scenario. it worked against everyone I played the first time, and then when people got wise I'd just do a slow roll forward from the same setup, essentially feignting a feignt.

point is the game doesnt end at setup and your choice of moves matter

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6 hours ago, thespaceinvader said:

I disagree with this.  You can set up for a joust and still end up in a flank, if you have ships with good movement profiles and you plan your moves appropriately.

 

6 hours ago, Sciencius said:

The Gambit: If you are trying to avoid the joust, you have to setup your ships far apart from each other on your side of the board. 

I agree with @thespaceinvader and I typically only recommend you always setup your ships within a range ruler from each other unless you're experienced at what your doing to provide the best chance of engaging all your ships the same round.

It's common for a unequal engagement to decide a game. I think it goes without saying but try and keep some of your opponents ships from shoot and do everything to get your list to shoot. Some exception should be considered like getting a ship out of the kill box. A good player can recognize when they can get a favorable engagement and when to take the risk to jump into an early engagement.

It's always good to have one of your ships snipping in a free shot, unless your position is compromised for the next round (or future rounds).

haha, always full of exceptions. This is always best... except when it isn't. :P

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I know this is a pet peeve . . . 

When were horses introduced into X-Wing?  Heck the Star Wars game doesn't even include grav "lances"  :blink:

I have also been studying WW II tactics and I think the word everyone is trying to use is "Merge" or "The Merge."  That initial contact where fighters race in at each-other with guns blazing with the hope to inflict as much damage on their initial pass?  That's a "Merge."

 

Now for the advice bit . . . I have the opposite problem in that I fear the Merge and have worked on how to play a maneuver game, but I've failed miserably for the most part.  The game constraints and the game set up actually encourages players to set up an initial Merge.

Indeed, NOT merging is difficult.

I did face one player who did a good job setting up a maneuvering engagement and what he did was set up his ship in a corner at an L Shape vector with his one large ship headed slowly down the edge, while the faster fighter raced along his starting edge in an attempt to envelop my team from his left flank.

When I raced in to engage his solo fighter, this fighter pulled a K-turn and disengaged, while his heavy hitter fell in toward my rear.  Even if I had pursued his fighter, I would have been boxed in and flanked as I turned against the edge.  Ultimately his two ships fell on a very disorganized team and he mopped my ships up in short order.  However, that opening may be a gimmick because if I see that again, I now know how to defeat it.

I have tried similar approaches and usually end up being defeated in detail.  (My ships become isolated and are destroyed one at a time by superior numbers).

With my limited experience, I have found that trying to avoid a Merge is a bad idea (especially for me).

And to borrow a Chess analogy, avoiding a Merge in X-Wing sounds similar to avoiding the e4 pawn opening in chess.  It's still the best opening for the game for a reason.

 

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13 minutes ago, Mark Caliber said:

I know this is a pet peeve . . . 

When were horses introduced into X-Wing?  Heck the Star Wars game doesn't even include grav "lances"  :blink:

I have also been studying WW II tactics and I think the word everyone is trying to use is "Merge" or "The Merge."  That initial contact where fighters race in at each-other with guns blazing with the hope to inflict as much damage on their initial pass?  That's a "Merge."

With no disrespect intended, but we do mean joust. It’s not because it’s a cavalry term, it’s because you make your pass, turn around, and make another pass. That’s classical ‘jousting.’ Your reference to the merge is to start as a joust, then transition to a knife fight. Often jousters don’t make great knife fighters, as e.g. the X-Wing doesn’t have a one hard turn and can’t do a two hard and roll into a focus. 

 

17 minutes ago, Mark Caliber said:

Now for the advice bit . . . I have the opposite problem in that I fear the Merge and have worked on how to play a maneuver game, but I've failed miserably for the most part.  The game constraints and the game set up actually encourages players to set up an initial Merge.

Indeed, NOT merging is difficult.

...

With my limited experience, I have found that trying to avoid a Merge is a bad idea (especially for me).

You’ll often hear in X-Wing that if both players joust, one of them was wrong. Just so. If you don’t have an advantage going into it, I’d argue that you were wrong (even if you come out on top).  Understanding who is favored in the initial approach will take you pretty far, so I’d suggest that you play around with the math on the Gate of Storms calculator until you have a good gut feeling  

If you’re already comfortable with the odds on your approach, and still find yourself outplayed, you may want to consider that you’re over committing early  in the game and becoming too predictable. Try and keep at least two lanes open as long as possible, and set yourself up so you can punish them if they pick the wrong one. You can generate an advantage that makes you more favored in the joust.

 

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Thanks for the feedback Paul, but "locally" the term "Joust" is being used to refer to the Merge.  And the locals are getting this term from somewhere else.  They're mostly MTG players and don't strike me as being FRP'ers.

I do get it that the TIE Defender is considered a "Jouster" because it's exceptional at executing the K-Turn without stress . . . but, I'm still going to insist that it's an exceptional fighter in a "vertical scissors battle."

And yeah, I get that trying to apply real world fighter tactics to X-Wing is impracticable, because X-Wing is a two dimensional game while real world fighter tactics are fought in a three dimensional environment free of asteroids.  :rolleyes:

But it helps me re-enforce my learning if I can apply the WW II training terms to X-Wing, though imperfectly.

 

DANG IT ALL.  I just learned that I don't have enough 2.0 Shield Tokens to represent my 3 B-Wings that I'm flying tomorrow.  Looks like it's time to dig out some 1.0 tokens for tomorrow . . .

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