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Tie Defender Re-Design: Its Time

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1 hour ago, millertime059 said:

This is true, but perhaps self correcting. The problem is the lack of TL ships in the Empire, and Vedder really needs at least two ships that can grab them to work.

But targeting computer could open that up more. Because while Vader is a good option, it leaves too few points for the rest of the list. The best I’ve done with Vessery is pairing with a V1 and a Gunboat. Solid, but hardly top of the Empire. But Vessery with Whisper and Soontir, each sporting the TC seems potentially very good. Or for real stupid stunts, cluster missiles and a TIE/ln swarm with as many TC as you can get.

Good? Probably not. But potentially stupid fun? Maybe.

I honestly think all the pilots are in a decent spot personally. But I also think if you are running named defenders, only run one. I think two ship lists just are too variance prone, and it lacks enough punch. While with the Deltas you can get a third good ship in there, so double Deltas is viable.

But running Rexler Ryad is bad news.

I tried to make a Vessery variant of my Rexler and two gunboats list, and he's just too expensive to make work. And unlike Rexler who has fantastic end game potential, Vessery loses efficiency in late game. Hes just not worth the extra points, lower pilot skill, and poor end game power.

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22 minutes ago, Cuz05 said:

I refuse to accept this! 

Although I haven't run it for ages

A better version (IMO) of a similar two super ship list is running Supernatural Anakin and Mace. More damage potential and less predictable, at the expense of being more squishy. But I tried two named defenders and you simply can’t get a third ship worth anything, and the two just don’t have the offense to reliably work. A shame as double defenders was a late 1.0 staple for me. Do you know what two TIE/d’s, one with tractor and one with ion, would do to the Nymranda’s of the world?

8 minutes ago, All Shields Forward said:

I tried to make a Vessery variant of my Rexler and two gunboats list, and he's just too expensive to make work. And unlike Rexler who has fantastic end game potential, Vessery loses efficiency in late game. Hes just not worth the extra points, lower pilot skill, and poor end game power.

I agree. However my specific list wasn’t with Seventh Sister as my end game piece, and the trick was being more aggressive with pushing Vess into range one and going deep for offense. It worked best with the very aggressive, yet cagey, style of play I favor.

When I played that way, it worked well for me. Plus all three ships were very mobile when needed, so I can bug out, or change the angle of attack as needed. I’m not saying Vess is better than Rex, just that she can be effective. And the coming TC could make her a more viable choice, as she gains synergy with more options that allow a 3, or even 4 ship list with her.

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20 minutes ago, millertime059 said:

A better version (IMO) of a similar two super ship list is running Supernatural Anakin and Mace. More damage potential and less predictable, at the expense of being more squishy. But I tried two named defenders and you simply can’t get a third ship worth anything, and the two just don’t have the offense to reliably work. A shame as double defenders was a late 1.0 staple for me. Do you know what two TIE/d’s, one with tractor and one with ion, would do to the Nymranda’s of the world?

I don't disagree, I just refuse to stop believing in it :D

We had some good results with Rex and Ryad, pre points change. Not so much against the best competitive players with meta lists, but it could still be tense and close.

The problem was, that was early days. As I started to get better at the game, I found myself just being too defensive to avoid the heavier risks you have to take and it felt a bit stale, with the gameplay drawbacks mentioned here.

Scoring enough points to cope with giving up 45+ points in a single bad die roll, is the real challenge. It can be done, but it leads to low MOVs, which can still just swing on dice.

I have tried 2x Delta with a Reaper and felt it was a bit bland. Ryad would be great in any frame you want, but currently, she's too dear. That's where I'd welcome some changes. A more squirrelly, less tanky x7 would be very nice.  Just a few changes to dial and health. Maaaybe linked actions. 

Otherwise, just make Ryad less than Rex.

Rex I love, he doesn't need to do much. He just struts about looking threatening. He's like the biggest, shiniest mascot. Once you're done glaring at him, his teammates have done all the work. Perfect just the way he is.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, millertime059 said:

This is true, but perhaps self correcting. The problem is the lack of TL ships in the Empire, and Vedder really needs at least two ships that can grab them to work.

But targeting computer could open that up more. Because while Vader is a good option, it leaves too few points for the rest of the list. The best I’ve done with Vessery is pairing with a V1 and a Gunboat. Solid, but hardly top of the Empire. But Vessery with Whisper and Soontir, each sporting the TC seems potentially very good. Or for real stupid stunts, cluster missiles and a TIE/ln swarm with as many TC as you can get.

Good? Probably not. But potentially stupid fun? Maybe.

I honestly think all the pilots are in a decent spot personally. But I also think if you are running named defenders, only run one. I think two ship lists just are too variance prone, and it lacks enough punch. While with the Deltas you can get a third good ship in there, so double Deltas is viable.

But running Rexler Ryad is bad news.

Unpopular opinion:  Triple naked Delta's wouldn't be OP, and therefore their price should be dropped to 66 points or less

Also, Vessery isn't even close to worth the 10 points he costs.

Edited by HolySorcerer

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2 minutes ago, HolySorcerer said:

Unpopular opinion:  Triple naked Delta's wouldn't be OP, and therefore their price should be dropped to 66 points or less

1. I don't necessarily agree that it'd be a fair list.  Defenders can be such "Engines of Inevitability" at times, and chewing through 3 is going to be a long slog for 75 minutes.

2. FFG should do it anyhow.

Before the January adjustment, I'd argued that E-Wings should be priced at 66 - Proton Torpedoes, as a the "beta test" price to see if the obvious list was a problem.  Deltas are in a similar situation.  A bare-bones 3x Defender list seems like maybe it'd be on the verge of being strong, but it's hard to tell.  My only requirement for FFG chopping 4 points off of each Defender is a willingness to increase it to at least 67 fairly quickly, if it was an issue.

5 minutes ago, HolySorcerer said:

Also, Vessery isn't even close to worth the 10 points he costs.

That one's trickier.  Vessery is three actions per turn without stress.  That's really potent on paper, particularly when combined with the time-on-target from a White 4K.  The Imperial faction changed around him since 2e began, with many ships unwilling or unable to take Locks these days, but Targeting Computer is coming back in a few waves.

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3 minutes ago, theBitterFig said:

1. I don't necessarily agree that it'd be a fair list.  Defenders can be such "Engines of Inevitability" at times, and chewing through 3 is going to be a long slog for 75 minutes.

2. FFG should do it anyhow.

Before the January adjustment, I'd argued that E-Wings should be priced at 66 - Proton Torpedoes, as a the "beta test" price to see if the obvious list was a problem.  Deltas are in a similar situation.  A bare-bones 3x Defender list seems like maybe it'd be on the verge of being strong, but it's hard to tell.  My only requirement for FFG chopping 4 points off of each Defender is a willingness to increase it to at least 67 fairly quickly, if it was an issue.

That one's trickier.  Vessery is three actions per turn without stress.  That's really potent on paper, particularly when combined with the time-on-target from a White 4K.  The Imperial faction changed around him since 2e began, with many ships unwilling or unable to take Locks these days, but Targeting Computer is coming back in a few waves.

Defenders can be tanky, but have bad (the worst?) damage output for their cost.  They won't go down easily, but they won't down anything easily either.  Also, compared to IG-88s, of which they are rather similar, they just don't hold up very well.

As to Vessery, yeah, his ability sounds great in a vacuum, but due to his cost and faction changes he really doesn't have room for any low PS wingmates to lock for him.  Maybe Targeting Computer will be good enough (ie cheap AF) to give him some viable wingmates, but without his old doubletap and his limited pool of friends I think I'd rather spend those 10 points on other upgrades for the list, even if TC is decent.  Maybe sink those points into a support ship with coordinate, that can feed locks to an Onyx and contribute in other ways as well.

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1 minute ago, svelok said:

That doesn't sound like a very interesting game

Which is why they need offensive upgrades to up their kill power.  I don't mind paying a lot of points for a Defender, I'd gladly pay 100+ points for a kitted out Defender.  The problem is that they just don't hit hard enough to make up their points.

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5 minutes ago, HolySorcerer said:

Which is why they need offensive upgrades to up their kill power.

Or a radical redesign.

I think some sort of tanky, heavy-hitting, and decently agile 100+ point Defender would be a wicked bad ship for the game.  Like, suppose there was a TIE/D configuration which was kind of like Maul's ability: after a cannon attack, you can make a bonus attack but only against a different target unless you miss.  That'd be horrible for the game.  Maul himself is barely tolerable, and that's mostly because he can die quickly to focus fire due to a single green die.  Defenders can tank too much incoming fire for that to be something allowable in a game.  And a very hard to kill ship up over 100 points does terrible things for the game in terms of point fortressing, fleeing, and playing the clock.

Also, Defender damage isn't too bad.  It doesn't have high alpha strike, but the white K gives them really high time-on-target, and with mods as well.  Opponents will generally have to K-Turn with stress, or have rounds without shots.  That adds up, and while Defenders don't nuke someone, their dial and durability give them strong damage-over-time.

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2 minutes ago, theBitterFig said:

Or a radical redesign.

I think some sort of tanky, heavy-hitting, and decently agile 100+ point Defender would be a wicked bad ship for the game.  Like, suppose there was a TIE/D configuration which was kind of like Maul's ability: after a cannon attack, you can make a bonus attack but only against a different target unless you miss.  That'd be horrible for the game.  Maul himself is barely tolerable, and that's mostly because he can die quickly to focus fire due to a single green die.  Defenders can tank too much incoming fire for that to be something allowable in a game.  And a very hard to kill ship up over 100 points does terrible things for the game in terms of point fortressing, fleeing, and playing the clock.

Also, Defender damage isn't too bad.  It doesn't have high alpha strike, but the white K gives them really high time-on-target, and with mods as well.  Opponents will generally have to K-Turn with stress, or have rounds without shots.  That adds up, and while Defenders don't nuke someone, their dial and durability give them strong damage-over-time.

Well a radical redesign just isn't going to happen.  There were a lot of missed opportunities in 2.0, they aren't going to backpedal now.

The Defender as is is seeing no playtime, but would be viable with a price drop.  It wouldn't be exciting, be a cheaper chassis would make them viable.  Some non-trash cannons and missiles wouldn't hurt certainly, but that is clearly too much to ask right now.

Honestly, I'm holding out for an Elite config that adds some much needed punch.

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FFG makes a lot of really weird design choices in X-wing. For example, giving double cannon slots and Linked Battery to a ship that already has a four-die front arc primary is just... the weirdest decision. Why would you ever use a cannon on that thing?

Imagine a config that dropped B-wings/Defenders to 2 attack dice, but gave them Linked Battery. Granted, maybe not the fluffiest for TIE Defenders, but right now there is no reason for a 3 die primary to take a cannon except maybe HLC if you've got the points to spare. Now you've got regular mode and dedicated cannon carrier mode! My one worry would be that Autoblasters with Linked Battery is basically just an improved 3 die primary attack, but if it's that big a problem you could find ways to avoid it (no range 1 cannon attacks, or simply that the Linked Battery config prevents you from equipping or adding a die to Autoblasters, there are ways to do it).

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16 minutes ago, Maui. said:

FFG makes a lot of really weird design choices in X-wing. For example, giving double cannon slots and Linked Battery to a ship that already has a four-die front arc primary is just... the weirdest decision. Why would you ever use a cannon on that thing?

Linked Battery is necessary for any 4-dice ship to even consider using a cannon.  Now, the tradeoff that a B-Wing makes when going tractor--regular damage or tractor tokens on the same 3 red dice--isn't a tradeoff that most players make, but it's a fair-enough decision.  A cannon by and large serves as a choice of what kind of "damage" to inflict.  Without Linked Battery, the Upsilon isn't making the same choice about what kind of damage to inflict.  It would be choosing to roll fewer dice as well.  That's not going to fly.  With Linked Battery, it's still not a choice most players are going to make, but at least you're on the same footing as any other Cannon ship--some number of dice of Primary or the same number of dice of Tractor or Ion or Jamming.

Plus, HLC needs it to actually be a damage buff.  Almost surely, no Upsilon is going to ever pull it off, but if they do, they ought to at least roll more dice than their primary.

 

So real question isn't "Why give it Linked Battery?" but "Why give it a Cannon Slot?"  Lorewise, it doesn't seem like the Upsilon traditionally had Ion Cannons so 🤔? :unsure:? :wacko:?  But I guess there wasn't any other First Order ship where Cannons made sense, and they didn't want the faction locked out of Tractor effects.

35 minutes ago, Maui. said:

Imagine a config that dropped B-wings/Defenders to 2 attack dice, but gave them Linked Battery. Granted, maybe not the fluffiest for TIE Defenders, but right now there is no reason for a 3 die primary to take a cannon except maybe HLC if you've got the points to spare. Now you've got regular mode and dedicated cannon carrier mode! My one worry would be that Autoblasters with Linked Battery is basically just an improved 3 die primary attack, but if it's that big a problem you could find ways to avoid it (no range 1 cannon attacks, or simply that the Linked Battery config prevents you from equipping or adding a die to Autoblasters, there are ways to do it).

1e TIE/d type effects have been floating in a lot of folks minds since the beginning.  Linked Battery could be one way.  But I could almost see a true double-tap if it removed at least a Primary Weapon die, if not also a Cannon attack die, provided it still had a cost around the 6 points of VTG, on top of the cannon.  I do miss Rainbow TIE/D with three different control cannons from 1e (it was super fun to shred Nyms and Mirandas).

Primary dice reduction might be enough.  "While you have a Cannon equipped, reduce your primary weapon value by 1.  After you perform a Cannon attack, you may perform a primary weapon bonus attack."  Tractor Beam or Ion Cannon + 2 dice is a way to stack negative debuffs, and still have a bit of a shot at pushing damage.  Autoblaster would be fairly potent, similar to a VTG Dorsal Y-Wing, but with extra dice in bullseye and potential auto-crit effects (helped out greatly by the white K-Turn).  Well, maybe that one is a bit yuck.

//

But I don't know whether that's really a good idea.

It'd "feel good" for heavy-hitters in Lore like the B-Wing to get some serious punch.  It'd feel nice for a Defender to seem kind of relevant.  But Defenders are, while not seriously played at top tables, aren't so incredibly bad that they can't be flown casually.  They kind of feel unfairly good at lower levels of play, and are probably about as well off as a generic Gunboat, and there are certainly a lot of generic ships which are less played and less successful than the humble Delta Defender.  Meanwhile, Point Fortress Defenders which actually could deal damage would, I think, feel pretty bad.

On top of Defenders not performing super-well, I also don't think they they're super enjoyable on either end of the table.  To explain my line of thinking, I'll describe kind of what I mean.  Fenn Rau and Soontir Fel seem like pretty good "never feelsbadman" pilots.  If you fly well with them, you feel rewarded.  Because it's easy enough for them to die in a fire, most folks who bring them account for that chance, and don't feel too bad if it happens.  Meanwhile, it doesn't feel too bad to get outflown by them, because it is so easy to just pop them in a single round of fire if they wind up in a bad place.  If an opponent wins with them, it feels kinda like you got beat the fair way.  TIE Defenders are kind of the reverse.  It never feels that great to succeed with them, since mostly you'll be carried by free Evades and white K-Turns.  It never feels great to lose to defenders, because again, free Evades and white K-Turns.  The only think which feels nice about doing well with Defenders is the consensus that they're bad.

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23 hours ago, ClassicalMoser said:

This is actually not true. The Elite was a further development of the design.

What is your source for this? As far as I could tell from watching Rebels, the only thing different about the 'Elite' was that it had yellow stripes on it, which I always took to mean a squadron. Is it ever established that there is an actual functional difference between it and any other Defender?

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3 minutes ago, MalusCalibur said:

What is your source for this? As far as I could tell from watching Rebels, the only thing different about the 'Elite' was that it had yellow stripes on it, which I always took to mean a squadron. Is it ever established that there is an actual functional difference between it and any other Defender?

Folks in the show talk about it being faster than the one they'd encountered before, but that's not huge proof.

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Small idea off the top of my head for a new tie/D config:

Ignore ship ability, when attacking you may roll one extra attack die, and you must spend one hit/crit result. If you do, assign one token of the corresponding equipped cannon upgrade (if applicable) to the defender.

 

It's a wasted config if you don't take the right cannon of course, so a more streamlined design where you don't have to update a table of usable cannons would be good.

Another option is to release different versions of the same config, dedicated to specific tokens, in the case that using the config with something like jamming beam proves to be too powerful.

This config would give the defender a bit more utility, while possibly being able to price it a little cheaper.

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A config that just flat out neuters Full Throttle feels inelegant to me. If the defender needs a 'fix' Tie/D config, it should work with Full Throttle to trade defence for offence and/or control. What about: 

After you perform a primary attack, you may spend an evade token to perform a bonus attack with an equipped cannon weapon. If you do, prevent all damage the defender would suffer from uncancelled hit results. 

This meas it trades the evade for some control tokens and maybe some damage (on crits), without the absurdity of an HLC double-tap. 

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2 minutes ago, player2072913 said:

A config that just flat out neuters Full Throttle feels inelegant to me. If the defender needs a 'fix' Tie/D config, it should work with Full Throttle to trade defence for offence and/or control. What about: 

After you perform a primary attack, you may spend an evade token to perform a bonus attack with an equipped cannon weapon. If you do, prevent all damage the defender would suffer from uncancelled hit results. 

This meas it trades the evade for some control tokens and maybe some damage (on crits), without the absurdity of an HLC double-tap. 

^^^^^^^^

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3 minutes ago, player2072913 said:

A config that just flat out neuters Full Throttle feels inelegant to me. If the defender needs a 'fix' Tie/D config, it should work with Full Throttle to trade defence for offence and/or control. What about: 

After you perform a primary attack, you may spend an evade token to perform a bonus attack with an equipped cannon weapon. If you do, prevent all damage the defender would suffer from uncancelled hit results. 

This meas it trades the evade for some control tokens and maybe some damage (on crits), without the absurdity of an HLC double-tap. 

Just straight up 'spend an evade token to perform a bonus cannon attack' with maul's bity about miss versus hit changing who you can shoot would be fine.  It's a really interesting solution to making D without completely making it an add-on to x7, ad it gives a strong counterplay option of forcing the removal of the evade, blocking, jamming, etc.

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1 hour ago, player2072913 said:

A config that just flat out neuters Full Throttle feels inelegant to me. If the defender needs a 'fix' Tie/D config, it should work with Full Throttle to trade defence for offence and/or control. What about: 

After you perform a primary attack, you may spend an evade token to perform a bonus attack with an equipped cannon weapon. If you do, prevent all damage the defender would suffer from uncancelled hit results. 

This meas it trades the evade for some control tokens and maybe some damage (on crits), without the absurdity of an HLC double-tap. 

I really like the structure of spending an Evade (it'll shut down Juke!).  I still prefer a version where your Cannon hits harder, and your primary is weaker, however.

Suppose: After you perform a Cannon attack, you may spend an Evade token to perform a bonus primary attack.  If you do, and the attack hits, cancel all but one hit or crit result.  You'll still be doing a lot more damage than any other ship would with Ion Cannons or Tractor Beams, but only one extra damage in total.

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5 hours ago, MalusCalibur said:

What is your source for this? As far as I could tell from watching Rebels, the only thing different about the 'Elite' was that it had yellow stripes on it, which I always took to mean a squadron. Is it ever established that there is an actual functional difference between it and any other Defender?

The two have separate entries on the databank. The Defender Elite was a unique prototype that further improved on the design of the Defender. In addition to the paint scheme, you can see that the solar panels are longer and pointier on the Elite.

Anyway, why would they give it a new name and separate entry just because of a red paint stripe?! The reasoning here seems disingenuous. We don’t have a lot of specifics but the Defender Elite was presumably... Elite...

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Posted (edited)

Some random thoughts on a new Defender...

1. Remove the White K

2. Remove Full Throttle

3. Keep the 4 Shields

4. Keep Sensors, Cannon, Missiles

5. Full Throttle Ailerons Side A “Before you reveal your dial you may spend 1 shield to perform a 1 bank or 1 forward maneuver. Flip this card”

6. Full Throttle Afterburners Side B “After you fully complete a 3-5 speed maneuver you may spend 1 shield to perform a boost”

7. Same actions...maybe a linked roll into red focus.

8. Big Angry Tie Striker A-Wing with more Wings. Would be ideally suited to line up bullseyes to crank your offense up ( prockets or HLC ) but at a strategic cost. No longer a token tank maybe.

9. Re-write problematic Pilot Abilities, looking at you Ryad. 

10. Super duper ultra busted I made more problems than I solved probably?

Edited by Boom Owl

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