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Skitch_

Let's Talk Blockers

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What makes a good blocker? Low Initiative? Survivability? Maneuverability? Base Size?

What do you look for when you look for a blocker? In your opinion what would you say the best blockers are for each faction? How many points would you think to dump into a ship you plan on using as a blocker?

How many rounds do you expect your blocker to live?

Do you fly your list to accommodate your blocker? i.e. do you fly your non-blocker ships assuming your blocker will do its job?

How many ships do you try to fly in your list when one of them is a dedicated blocker?

In your experience do you see your opponents targeting your blocker more so than your other "more important" ships or just out of convenience? 

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Posted (edited)

I mean, you gotta be lower I to block by definition, unless you've set up a large base in a poor bwing's face

The "best" blockers are just low I dudes with good speed and repositioning, making something like the I 1 A-wings the best (in theory). Another BIG mention is the I 1 scum falcon of large base boosting hilarity.

But I can't ever seem to justify taking a ship for the sole purpose of blocking, because then you're banking a lot on something that does not occur so often. After all, range 1-3 is MARKEDLY larger than Range 0! Mainly, I just take a PEWPEW ship that CAN block because it's lower I than the opponent

Still, I'll bring up i2 Arcs (because of course I would). Medium base makes them easier to overlap and gives them good displacement despite their dial. RED rolls let them get into irritating positions. They've got a good forward facing primary for cost AND can shoot out the rear in case the enemy flies right by!

 

Also Starvipers, with their flexible speed 1 manuever, boost, and weirdo roll get them into spots your opponent can't anticipate. Pair with coordinate and just let hilarity unfold 

 

Edited by ficklegreendice

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Yeah, there's no such thing as a ship that I'd consider a dedicated blocker in 2.0. There are ample anti-block counters in the game right now compared to 1.0, so I look at ships that can do what I want AND ALSO BLOCK instead of ships that are there just to block.

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Either numbers or size. 

For example 2-3 Planetary Sentinels, 2 Torrents, or 1 104th Battalion are my blockers of choice. The Sentinel can be so many places, and several can clog up everything and likely still have a shot on something. The Arc, as @ficklegreendice mentioned, is one of the best blockers in the game because it’s size, and potential for shots even when blocking due to dual arcs.

Torrents are simply cheap and take work to kill, and have the barrel roll to evade. Great in a pair to simply be in the way.

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I1 fang is a great blocker, and has seen a lot of success in hyperspace, they either block you or get a defensive bonus, and are just so fun as you full blast in ships face

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The best blocker in 1.0 was a Jumpmaster with Intel Agent.  We don't really have anything that awesome (yet?) in 2.0.  You can put Informant on it, but that's still 51 points for something that can reliably bump a couple times maybe?  

A-Wings are probably the best.  Maybe I1 interceptors (since you can both boost and barrel roll with high speeds, and lots of greens to do it again the next turn)

I think my favorite thus far is intimidation on a rebel U-Wing.  You can reliably get one bump in, then next turn you can play chicken with your opponent with the 0-stop rotate, 1-straight to maybe do it again, etc.  Its just that good!  Lots of health doesn't hurt either.  Its probably that a U-wing with Leia is just so cheap for what you get.  Great blocker!

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On the Rebel side the best blockers are U-wings. Partisan Renegades and great at getting in there and gumming up the works. Higher initiative U-wings are great as well. Slap Intimidate on someone like Magva and you have a PS 3 blocker that effects both red and green dice.

They can also just flip around the next turn and still have a shot on you.

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I'll second (third?) U-Wings.  It's a bit janky but I love Heff with Intimidate and Zeb.  They bump you, you get fully modded R1 shot on them!  It does make people really try to avoid hitting you... which is kind of good in its own way.  Just beware of Init-1 blockers as they can bump you first.

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I’m really surprised no one has mentioned the quadjumper. It is a fantastic low I blocker that can also move ships or just take away agility. I’m looking forward to the Nantex adding the same for CIS

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Point for point, nothing can match an Phoenix Squadron A-Wing with Intimidation for blocking.  It’s the perfect combination of lowest Initiative, Talent slot, and extreme speed.  I took two with Sense Luke and Wedge undefeated through Swiss at a HT.

To be fair I never had to play against a Supernatural opponent, but very little else gets around those little kamikaze missiles.

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Posted (edited)

Dedicated 'blockers' are pretty uncommon, it's more of a situational thing when to block. Sometimes I use Soontir Fel as a blocker if the situation demands it. On the flip side, in some matchups my PS1 Wampa becomes a squirrely arc dodger. It really just depends on what you need that turn. Sometimes it's best not to block, even if you could. So many times I see players block a ship and all they achieve is removing one of their shots that turn.

In general your cheaper, lower PS ships are going to be doing the majority of the blocking. PS1 Awings, TIE fighters, Trade Drones, and the PS2 Torrent. The PS1 U-wing, YT1300 and Reaper also make decent medium/big base blockers. Any badly damaged ship that is likely to be PS-killed that turn are usually happy to dive in and stop at least one opponent from shooting at them.

It's really more about what should block that turn, rather than having a dedicated blocker to always do it. As I said, I had a game recently where I used Soontir to block my opponent's Vader, then Wampa and Vermeil got the kill. 

Edited by CRCL

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2 hours ago, CRCL said:

Dedicated 'blockers' are pretty uncommon, it's more of a situational thing when to block. Sometimes I use Soontir Fel as a blocker if the situation demands it. On the flip side, in some matchups my PS1 Wampa becomes a squirrely arc dodger. It really just depends on what you need that turn. Sometimes it's best not to block, even if you could. So many times I see players block a ship and all they achieve is removing one of their shots that turn. 

This is really true. One of my best blocks in 2.0 was blocking Wedge with Vader.

It's also important to make blocks where you won't miss the shots from that ship for too long. Either because you have a short turn-around time, good action economy on the k-turn or a back arc.

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14 hours ago, Skitch_ said:

What makes a good blocker? Low Initiative? Survivability? Maneuverability? Base Size?

For me, it's cheapness and low Init.  I often have lists that have a number of the same generics, such as 3-4 Kihraxz.  If one of them gets shot up, then that guy volunteers for blocker duty.  It works well because if he blocks someone, that's one less person that can shoot at him.  

I do have a list that includes a G-1A that hangs behind the formation.  He's a great blocker for those that are trying to shoot past my main formation.  People forget he can do a 1 hard stop.  I've caught even very good players that way (top 50).  

You asked who I think is the best blocker?  Tie Fighters.  They have a great dial and can either BR or Focus.  They are cheap.  They can get to where you need them to be, including that 1 Hard Turn.  

13 hours ago, PhantomFO said:

Yeah, there's no such thing as a ship that I'd consider a dedicated blocker in 2.0. There are ample anti-block counters in the game right now compared to 1.0, so I look at ships that can do what I want AND ALSO BLOCK instead of ships that are there just to block.

I like to have a heavy hitter and mini-swarm type of list.  I consider all those little generics to be blockers.  I mean, they aren't all trying to block that turn, but they are all happy to put themselves in the way for the team.  Is that considered a dedicated blocker?  I do try to block with them every single chance I can get, which is often enough.  Blocking is a key strategy for my lists.  

What ample anti-blocking counters are there in the game?  I mean, if you take a list specifically to beat someone's blocking list, sure, but how many general lists do you see with anti-blocking counters already?  I really do want to know.

===

I stated that I like a heavy hitter and mini-swarm....though it might be a heavy hitter and swarm depending on your thoughts.  Here are two lists that I have used to great affect that involve blocking:

  • Vader
  • Del Meeko
  • 4 Academy Pilots

or

  • Prince Xizor
  • 5 Z-95's

I like to use what I call a Blocking Screen.  Basically, you have your little ships in front of your heavy hitter.  You make a loose formation, but nothing so precise.  When you approach the enemy, you spread out your ships to create a covered field.  One guy gets up close to where they are going to be and grabs a Focus.  The rest of them spread out behind him so that there is almost no where the enemy ship(s) can go that doesn't bump someone.  If you can get it right, it basically creates a "bump train".  What this means is that the enemy ship might have done a move that bumps someone in the middle of the spread, but because there is no where for him to fit he has to go back to bump the very first ship.  This allows almost all your ships (except the blocker) to have a Focus (or whatever) and fire at the enemy who is tokenless.  Often at Range 1.  If the enemy had more than one ship in front of you, it might cause all of his ships to bump and be tokenless.  This makes things like massed Tie Fighters or Z-95's exceptionally effective.   Don't forget your heavy hitter is usually firing first from the rear.  

This was used at the Krayt Cup in my final game vs. Richard White, who was playing 6 elite Tie Fighters.  I manged to get 2-3 Tie fighters up front with a Focus that bumped his whole first line.  Vader tore into Howlrunner, but Iden was used.  He killed a Tie Fighter, but then the remaining ships killed Howlrunner.  It was an excellent first round for me.  I did end up winning that game.  

Xizor in 1st Ed was excellent to use against BroBots.  They would try to do the bait and switch move on you.  I had Flechette Torps back then that would stress the bait and not allow him a red move.  He would then be stuck with a blocking screen in front of him and bump.  Xizor and all those Z's would rip into the one and usually leave it with a couple hull.  With one Brobot running, it was not too hard to turn and take on the other guy with the same formation.  

===

If I am facing a Large Based ship with a turret, you know I am going to dedicate at least one ship to be it's blocker all game.  If you are facing someone like the Falcon, you know they are going to try to get you to joust and then peel off to the side and flank you.  Stick one of your guys out to block that sucker and he will NOT be able to deal with it.  With no tokens, he gets easy to shoot down and with being blocked, he can't get away, either.  It might take some practice to get someone out there to block and then get into another blocking position the 2nd round, but it's doable.  If you get in front of the Falcon with a Tie Fighter and facing the same direction, it gets near impossible for them to not hit you.  

===

I find blocking to be a key component of my strategy.  It controls where the enemy ships end up on the table.  It reduces their effectiveness in shooting.  It makes it easier for your ships to fire at them.  Blocking is a key element to winning for me.  Aces aren't that special when they can't arc dodge or do their special combos.  Generics become more powerful than they are supposed to be when firing at a blocked enemy.  

You don't need a lot of high Init ships if you have enough blockers and good strategy.  It might take some practice to figure out how to block efficiently, but it is well worth it.  Personally, I think a Prince Xizor and 5 Z-95's can compete in the tournament scene if flown right. 

There is almost always a ship in my list that I am thinking of trying to block the enemy with.  

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Also worth mentioning the utility of linked actions on a blocker.  Quite often, your blocker is still taking or making shots, at least in the early rounds.  The ability to reposition and still have a focus is pretty huge.  

Just running 8 Vultures with shell charges is pretty strong.  They can take turns acting as blockers.  They have most of the moves that you would want to get into position as blockers but beware of their limited turn around options.  If you plan it right, the 1-K is amazing.  If you don't, you are facing the wrong way for multiple turns.

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Shout out to Arvel with Intimidation.

But aside from that, I'd say blocking is a more of a situation tactic than a specific role. 

As a flyer of low I swarms, I usually want as many of my ships to get shots on target as possible.  I'll happily sacrifice one ships' shot to deny my opponent their actions and/or line up the rest of my list's arcs.  But I'll also throw injured ships into blocking positions to try and prevent my opponent from finishing them off.

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Imo for a blocker to be top tier you need 3 things. (Listed in order of importance)

1. 5 speed white (or blue)

2. White boost linked to something

3. Initiative 1

4. Of less importance a great dial of Blues (yup that's 4 of 3 things but this last one is just nice to have)

5 speed + boost means you can go from beyond range 3 to blocking a ship that did a 1 straight, this is extremely critical for a good blocker. It lets you fully control the engagement.

I have had great success with the feethan outraw (beallabubbles) it's dial is not the greatest, it's blues suck but having a 5 straight into boost or be along with a 1 hard white makes it very good. That being said the absolute best blocker is the alpha tie interceptor it is a monster.

While the Jedi starfighter are good they have nothing below i3 and they are expensive and don't pack the additional offensive punch (without getting even more costly) the something like a tie interceptor.

The more second edition i play the more blockers find there way into my lists, they just feel very strong.

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22 hours ago, ficklegreendice said:

Also Starvipers, with their flexible speed 1 manuever, boost, and weirdo roll get them into spots your opponent can't anticipate. Pair with coordinate and just let hilarity unfold 

A local flew two Balck Sun StarVipers with intimidation to hilariously good effect as blockers. You aren't wrong about them being in super unexpected spots.

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Thanks for your responses all! You have helped guide me on my decisions.

 

34 minutes ago, 5050Saint said:

A local flew two Balck Sun StarVipers with intimidation to hilariously good effect as blockers. You aren't wrong about them being in super unexpected spots.

This is what I am looking to do. I am looking to try either a medium base with intimidation or two small bases with intimidation. What I have gathered from everybody's responses is that you want your blockers to actually be able to be a threat as well. Which makes sense.

 

 

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I'm not super into blocking, just not the sort of squads I run. But if I have  medium base in there, it's going to block or get blocked.

So Intimidation. I've not tried it and always end up taking it out of the list before it hits the table. Reason being that if I'm running one of my mobile ace lists, an enemy ship with Intimidation has a super obvious plan, which makes it easier to work around.

It will make it high priority to avoid or destroy ofc, which brings a different kind of benefit.

But still, not convinced on the utility of Intimidation, just from theory, so I'd be happy to be persuaded otherwise.

 

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Heff Tobber with Coordinate is an awesome blocker because he gets into position and defensive-focuses, then when the bump happens he gets to coordinate a nearby ship into position to punish the blocked ace. Intimidation just makes it so much better.

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