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MasterShake2

Opening Thoughts on Seperatists

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Posted (edited)
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So, I'm going to reflect on some thoughts trying to build and play Seperatists (otherwise known as the Coalition of Independent Systems or CIS). If you really have to be somewhere or suddenly realized the breaks are out on your car, the TL:DR version is that they're an oddball faction that's hard to play and is best characterized as a dark horse that you might randomly lose to, but doesn't appear to be consistently powerful enough to bring home the gold long term at least for now.
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The Ships
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-=Sith Infiltrator=-
I'm not a huge fan of 1 AGL ships with a large base and front arc only and the SI isn't really causing me to reverse that. It maneuvers like an elephant and never really seemed to do enough work. The meta is also leaning towards more ships making the SI even more cumbersome with it's big base. The only real thing it has going for it is a bevy of weird upgrades. Side by Siding this ship with the generic ARC-170, it has a more cumbersome base, +1 hp, doesn't have a rear firing arc and has a slightly better dial...for the low low price of +11pts. That's actually pretty insane even if I do think the I2 ARC might be 2pts or so undercosted. It's possible there's an obscure combo of upgrade cards/pilot that makes this thing less bad or even outright good, but I'm pretty unconvinced on the SI right now.
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-=B-22=-
The B-22 is another weird offering because it's particularly good action bar including a Boost>focus and Roll>focus gives the impression that you might have a flanker or arc dodger, but the minute you get stress or have to turn around, the ship becomes clunky fast. It only has 3 sloops as it's turn arounds and it's 3 turns are also red and this combos very poorly with it's blues (2 banks and 2 and 3 straight) making the dial actually way more limited than it first appears. Every time I get stress with one of these things, I just kind of write off the next turn and hope I can find a maneuver that doesn't outright kill me. This just kind of means the B-22 is a glorified jouster, but at 37 for the I1 generic, it doesn't match well in terms of economy with other commonly available jousting options. Captain Sear is a solid pick on this ship because he's 1) pretty cheap at 39 and 2) his pilot ability keeps Vultures threatening even after the energy shells are gone. Wat is also a good pick because he should be re-rolling his dice pretty consistently, but both him an Sear just kind of want to fly with the swarm, so the B-22 is pressed outside of it's role. Grievous, on the other hand, is a different story. His pilot ability really wants him to be a flanker/dodger, but the ship isn't really made for it...which would also be fine if he was cheap, but he's comically expensive at 47. You're paying +10pts over a generic for I4 and a pilot ability that the ship doesn't use that well. It feels like he's paying a premium for having an usually effective ability, but in reality, I'm pretty convinced he should get a discount for the ability not being well matched to the ship.
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-=Vulture Droids=-
So the main event, the Vulture Droids. They're fine(tm). Yeah, its not a ringing endorsement, but they're carried hard by energy shells and Networked Calculations. Of note, because of the specfic way Networked Calculations is worded, it will bump against he "once per opportunity" clause, which I'm sure people will get wrong when they roll 2-3 focus icons. It's 1 spend for Networked Calculations per roll, but the droid can still spend it's own calculates on top of that, but if you're running a swarm this will definitely come up. Energy Shell Charges is pretty great and, honestly, I think these things are pretty close to unplayable without them. Also, occaionally, you get some breathing room to reload as well. Discord Missiles, on the other hand, Hard meh. 6pts for what might be a single crit when energy shells are 4 is rapidly becoming a hard pass for me (especially since energy shells can let you turn a focus to crit). This might be because Discord Missiles don't play well with Swarms and maybe a smaller ship count list with an infiltrator where you have less attacks to power through defenses and less bodies to get in the way makes more sense. The named character droids are all overcosted and I'm not even mincing words on that. The "I'm Halping" droid that passes a single calculate, might be interesting if you didn't pay 4 pts for the ability and can mostly get the mods where you need it anyways. The "don't crit me bro!" droid seems like a real waste of time given how fast these things die and that it requires a token spend to turn on anyways (something charge-based might've been a firm "maybe" if it wasn't also 27pts). The predator Drones are interesting enough, but you're paying +4pts over an I3 generic for a worse version of a 2pt EPT which is really garbage. Then the target lock droid might get an extra target lock once per game before they die horribly, but the fact that it's "take an action" as opposed to gaining the token means you can't use it while stressed i.e. the 1 time it's super relevant and I have little desire to pay 3pts over the generic with the same initiative for that. Then, you also have to consider the fact the Vulture Droids are unconvinced of the efficacy of 45 degree angles, so they're very limited in terms of not moving in cardinal directions.
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The best way to describe flying a swarm of vulture droids is that it's like herding a bunch of very sociable, meth-addicted, roombas. If you told me before I had put them on the table that the cheapest spammable ship in the game with a 3 dice dirt cheap missile might need a cost reduction, I would've thought you were crazy, but after playing them...at least some of the character ones definitely need to come down or there's no reason to bother just settling with either the I1 or the 2pt bump for I3 to fight certain meta builds (I'm specifically thinking of it for some of the I2 spams like 5x Y-Wings or even some of the new clones).
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The weird dials and preference for close formations definitely gives the list a high skill floor, but I'm not convinced that it also has a high skill ceiling i.e. you need some practice to get it right, but I'm not sold you'd win a large even with it.
Edited by MasterShake2

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, MasterShake2 said:

The best way to describe flying a swarm of vulture droids is that it's like herding a bunch of very sociable, meth-addicted, roombas. 

Thank you for this. 

I’ve been flying nothing but vulture droids (with a b-22 kraken minder) all week and this hit the nail on the head. 

Edited by skotothalamos

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7 hours ago, MasterShake2 said:

It's possible there's an obscure combo of upgrade cards/pilot that makes this thing less bad or even outright good, but I'm pretty unconvinced on the SI right now.

Have you seen the Count Dooku + "Scimitar" + heightened perception yet? I don't know for sure if it's good but engaging then cloaking at initiative 7 sounds fun.

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The vultures are way more awkward than I expected.

Out of everything you've said I only disagree on two things: 1) I think Energy Shells are bad and I'd avoid them.  I'll try Discord but naked might be the way to go.  2) I actually got quite a lot of work out of Maul.  He absolutely melts if you stick him in the wrong place though.

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Thank you for your assessment.

I am very skepitcal though. After all, at the last Coruscant Invitational so many of the great players huffed and puffed about the forced inclusion of a free Leia. And now she is meta defining and autoinclude at 2 points.

Just because you haven't found a dominating build in a week of play doesn't mean that the faction is in any way DOA.

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I got two games in yesterday, Maul is a beast but he is tricky to maneuver.  It reminds me of a 1.0 Aggressor, but with a couple of key difference.  No boost, and the 1 hards are red so no tight turns to stay in the fight.  The 2sloops and 5k make up for it somewhat if you have the space to do them.  I like the title a lot, starting cloaked gives you some positioning options on the opening round of fire that give you the ability to surprise your opponent and it's handy to cloak when you are trying to disengage to set up for another attack run since Maul can use his Force for defense.

Totally agree on the B22, they could have used two more blue maneuvers pretty much anywhere on their dials.

My vultures have gotten riggity rekt.  Some of it is my fault for flying them poorly, some of it is higher initiative ships closing on them and blowing them away with four dice attacks.  They can get through 2 and 3 dice attacks most of the time, but 4 dice attacks tends to do them in pretty frequently.  And yeah, all the uniques are too expensive, especially the bullseye abilities.

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36 minutes ago, ScottGilbert25 said:

Why do grappling struts cost anything? They should be free like the Xwing foils. 

I have a feeling that they will go down in the next points rebalancing, down to 1 or 0 I believe. 

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My initial impression of Discord Missiles is you need more than one, probably the maximum three. That turns them into a meaningful lane/area denial threat rather than a wannabe Energy Shell, which is what you basically get by taking just one.

It'd be different if the B-22 or Infiltrator had missile slots, but you can't rely on getting a Discord Vulture to mid/end game.

At that point, you've invested a full 6 points over spamming ESCs instead, but it might be worthwhile. I've not gotten to try it extensively, obviously.

In my games of CIS so far (won some lost some) I've mostly just turbo-sucked at getting all my ships to engage at the same time because they all move kinda weird. (B-22 can't 3-turn, Vultures can't bank, large base decloaks + bumping).

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1 hour ago, svelok said:

My initial impression of Discord Missiles is you need more than one, probably the maximum three. That turns them into a meaningful lane/area denial threat rather than a wannabe Energy Shell, which is what you basically get by taking just one.

It'd be different if the B-22 or Infiltrator had missile slots, but you can't rely on getting a Discord Vulture to mid/end game.

At that point, you've invested a full 6 points over spamming ESCs instead, but it might be worthwhile. I've not gotten to try it extensively, obviously.

In my games of CIS so far (won some lost some) I've mostly just turbo-sucked at getting all my ships to engage at the same time because they all move kinda weird. (B-22 can't 3-turn, Vultures can't bank, large base decloaks + bumping).

 

Had a pair mixed in with some ECS both for practice games and at a small hyperspace warmup.  Just didn't work well with all the vultures on the table.  Average extra damage was equal to or less than just having an ECS.  Had 1 game where I got 1 stuck on a U-Wing and that was pretty decent and another where I stuck em on wedge and managed to intentionally block him from shaking it, but that's 2 out of 6 games and all the other 4 they maybe netted +1 damage a piece if that.

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