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dsul413

XWD13: Rise of the First Order - High-Low Mix

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Posted (edited)

Interesting article.

If I could toss my two ha'porths into the ring; I'd observe that the First Order has two real themes:

  • 'Superior' versions of Imperial craft (as you note) - almost all First Order ships can be compared directly to an Imperial equivalent or equivalents, but in almost every case have picked up shields, a superior dial, and the ability to pull some seriously hinky moves with tech upgrades like pattern analyser.
  • 'Attritional' tactics. Kind of an odd faction theme given their higher per-ship cost, but there's a very detectable theme that the first order gets scarier the more you hurt them:
    • Kylo Ren's pilot ability
    • Lieutenant Tavson's pilot ability
    • Quickdraw's pilot ability
    • Avenger's pilot ability
    • TN-3465's pilot ability (okay, this one specifically is self-damage)
    • Fanatical talent upgrade
  • High Initiative sort-of-aces. The TIE/ba Baron gives the First Order another initiative 6+ pilot - but unlike Han Solo (in whatever iteration) or Dengar, they're not stuck in comparatively unwieldy freighters, but in TIE fighters with small bases and every speed of turn going. Being able to put Major Vonreg, Quickdraw, Midnight and Null on the field at once is not an unreasonable aspiration, and that's 3 I6 pilots and an I7 - a scary prospect for any opponent who hasn't learned how to fight from the wrong end of the initiative stick.

 

I see the TIE/ba as the 'improved TIE/v1 & TIE/in hybrid', in the same way a TIE/vn is an improved mix of a TIE/in and TIE/x1, or the TIE/sf is a sort of hybrid TIE/sa and TIE/ag.

The argument of 'soontir to vader' is a good one, but the access to missiles means it's potentially more the Inquisitor to Vader; don't underestimate the extra punch missiles can deliver - if you can arc-dodge, you can make effective use of cluster missiles, and anything resembling an interceptor can do nasty things with proton rockets.

In either case, Vonreg and his merry minions can't afford to be 'head-on' attackers; using their ability, assuming you want to keep your attack ability topped up, means becoming more fragile than a TIE/fo for (presumably) a lot more points. Let the expendable TIE/fo, fanatical TIE/sf, and combination flying bunker/artillery piece Upsilon engage the enemy head-on. What the TIE/ba gives you is a capable flanker you can slot into your squad without it being the entire focus of your squad.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your thoughts on the TIE/SF. I like the Swiss-Army-Knife style of the ship and have always loved flying them on the board and seeing them in action in the movie.  

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13 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Interesting article.

If I could toss my two ha'porths into the ring; I'd observe that the First Order has two real themes:

  • 'Superior' versions of Imperial craft (as you note) - almost all First Order ships can be compared directly to an Imperial equivalent or equivalents, but in almost every case have picked up shields, a superior dial, and the ability to pull some seriously hinky moves with tech upgrades like pattern analyser.
  • 'Attritional' tactics. Kind of an odd faction theme given their higher per-ship cost, but there's a very detectable theme that the first order gets scarier the more you hurt them:
    • Kylo Ren's pilot ability
    • Lieutenant Tavson's pilot ability
    • Quickdraw's pilot ability
    • Avenger's pilot ability
    • TN-3465's pilot ability (okay, this one specifically is self-damage)
    • Fanatical talent upgrade
  • High Initiative sort-of-aces. The TIE/ba Baron gives the First Order another initiative 6+ pilot - but unlike Han Solo (in whatever iteration) or Dengar, they're not stuck in comparatively unwieldy freighters, but in TIE fighters with small bases and every speed of turn going. Being able to put Major Vonreg, Quickdraw, Midnight and Null on the field at once is not an unreasonable aspiration, and that's 3 I6 pilots and an I7 - a scary prospect for any opponent who hasn't learned how to fight from the wrong end of the initiative stick.

 

I see the TIE/ba as the 'improved TIE/v1 & TIE/in hybrid', in the same way a TIE/vn is an improved mix of a TIE/in and TIE/x1, or the TIE/sf is a sort of hybrid TIE/sa and TIE/ag.

The argument of 'soontir to vader' is a good one, but the access to missiles means it's potentially more the Inquisitor to Vader; don't underestimate the extra punch missiles can deliver - if you can arc-dodge, you can make effective use of cluster missiles, and anything resembling an interceptor can do nasty things with proton rockets.

In either case, Vonreg and his merry minions can't afford to be 'head-on' attackers; using their ability, assuming you want to keep your attack ability topped up, means becoming more fragile than a TIE/fo for (presumably) a lot more points. Let the expendable TIE/fo, fanatical TIE/sf, and combination flying bunker/artillery piece Upsilon engage the enemy head-on. What the TIE/ba gives you is a capable flanker you can slot into your squad without it being the entire focus of your squad.

Checks! Missiles will be an interesting potential addition to this ship. I was so stuck on MPW I didn't even think about Proton Rockets much on it.

I'll be spending a lot of time on the flank with these red beauties.

6 hours ago, BDrafty said:

I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your thoughts on the TIE/SF. I like the Swiss-Army-Knife style of the ship and have always loved flying them on the board and seeing them in action in the movie.  

Thank you! Means a lot!

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Posted (edited)

https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/rise-of-the-first-order-high-low-mix/

Another FO themed article. Discussing a couple lists I'm playing right now, I'll probably frame upcoming articles I write around these lists as I iterate through versions and prep for HST.

NaKoaLani will be posting an article on movement in the not-so-distant future also!

Edit: Here it is! https://xwingdebrief.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/sizing-maneuvering-and-how-to-shoot-the-gap/. Thanks to @GreenDragoon for great references and a very detailed deep dive on his blog - @NaKoaLani hits top level discussion points and military parallels.

I'm looking at podcast recording options, as I really enjoy discussing this game. We'll see if it goes anywhere, but I'll keep everyone posted if our attempts don't suck.

Edited by dsul413

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I got behind on reading this blog when it first came out, but the recent posts reminded me to catch up.  Good stuff, I'm a fan of any blog that looks at more than just lists and card combos.  

On the high-low mix, I've got a couple games with Kylo and 4 FOs with Crack Shot.  I love the feeling of both having a high performance ship and still have enough bodies to put pressure on the opposing squad.  This is a totally emotional response, but I feel like the Ace+ not ace stuff is the purest form of X-wing.  

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Kylo and three SF is a fun list to fly; I ran Kylo with Hate/AO, backed up by three Zetas packing Passive Sensors and Ion Missiles, and found it to be a fairly potent list. Kylo managed to survive an entire tournament without being shot down due to the threat posed by the Ion-slinging Zetas.

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Bw, I much prefer your written articles. I hate podcasts. I read at 400% my listening speed. Generally I find podcasts to be full of hum-hawing, tone-posturing (using tone of voice to try and back up your points, not logic) and a waste of time. Also you can't read off lists as fast. 

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36 minutes ago, Blail Blerg said:

I hope the tie/FO gets a reduction in cost. I don't see myself using the generics for much of anything, and one offs are kind of boring. Their pilots abilities are pure awful horrible design at this time. 

I've found that the Omega F/O with Fanatical is a reliable I3 building block. I do agree however that the named F/O pilots are a bit all over the place, both in their abilities and their initiatives (which stops you doing a flexible 'ace' swarm like the Inferno TIE/ln pilots).

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An ace with support is often a good option - and whilst the First Order doesn't have a 'Howlrunner' or Del Meeko analogue, they do have some good options.

  • TN-3465 - a generic low initiative TIE/fo is going to want to get in close and/or block. Having the option in her case to turn an incoming red die into a critical is a big deal, especially if you have a ship without easy access to rerolls and/or a special effect triggering off the critical (Fuel Leak or I'll Show You The Dark Side).
  • Muse - with pattern analyser she's a baby TIE defender, but with Squad Leader instead she essentially ignores the fact that her co-ordinate is red, and at initiative 2 she doesn't pay much for the talent, being 37 points all-up. It's not as cheap as some ships, but she's a lot cheaper and more expendable (and faster) than an Upsilon.
  • Null - Targeting Synchroniser isn't a tech upgrade the First Order uses a huge amount simply because getting lots of punch out of target lock ordnance generally needs torpedoes, and Blackout or Kylo Ren generally don't have a problem with initiative. 'Spotting' for torpedo-armed generic Silencers might have some mileage.

Certainly the Upsilons are a great support piece -  especially Lieutenant Tavson.

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14 hours ago, Blail Blerg said:

Bw, I much prefer your written articles. I hate podcasts. I read at 400% my listening speed. Generally I find podcasts to be full of hum-hawing, tone-posturing (using tone of voice to try and back up your points, not logic) and a waste of time. Also you can't read off lists as fast. 

Blail, thanks for reading!  We definitely plan on keeping the posts coming.  Hopefully, if we do venture into trying podcasting we can find a fresh angle that is useful and fact filled for the community.  Thanks for the feedback.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, NaKoaLani said:

Blail, thanks for reading!  We definitely plan on keeping the posts coming.  Hopefully, if we do venture into trying podcasting we can find a fresh angle that is useful and fact filled for the community.  Thanks for the feedback.

I really enjoy the discussion of modern air strategy and concepts within your articles. Idk if it’s useful to people but it’s fun to hear about. 

Edited by Blail Blerg

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On 8/12/2019 at 12:57 PM, Biophysical said:

I got behind on reading this blog when it first came out, but the recent posts reminded me to catch up.  Good stuff, I'm a fan of any blog that looks at more than just lists and card combos. 

On the high-low mix, I've got a couple games with Kylo and 4 FOs with Crack Shot.  I love the feeling of both having a high performance ship and still have enough bodies to put pressure on the opposing squad.  This is a totally emotional response, but I feel like the Ace+ not ace stuff is the purest form of X-wing.  

Biophysical!  Thanks for reading, appreciate your insights.  I have always been a fan of considering "strike package" type squad builds.  I like your Ace+non-ace viewpoint and have my own well rounded squad strategy of Ace+Tank(s)+.  Akin to the conglomeration of an Air superiority fighter, Air-to-ground attack craft with staying power, and a CSAR/refueling/C2 node type ship.  The first list I ever flew in a tournament was PTL Soontir, Stressbot Kath Firespray, and Vader crew Lambda shuttle.  Gives some depth and options.

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17 hours ago, Blail Blerg said:

I hope the tie/FO gets a reduction in cost. I don't see myself using the generics for much of anything, and one offs are kind of boring. Their pilots abilities are pure awful horrible design at this time. 

I dunno.  A simple Epsilon does a lot of the stuff a V-19 Torrent does (block well and tank more than it should for it's cost), but with an actually-very-good dial.  26 points for what they offer seems like pretty solid value.

//

Anyhow, I was thinking about a Rebel High/Low list the other day...

  • Wedge Antillies (Plasma Torpedoes, S-Foils) 64
  • Luke Skywalker (Proton Torpedoes, S-Foils) 75 - Can also include Instinctive Aim, which would cost the 1-point baby-bid
  • Phoenix Squadron Pilot (-) 30
  • Phoenix Squadron Pilot (-) 30

It's got Init 6, it's got the Force, it's got blockers, it's got torpedoes.  No regen, but Jedi would do the Regen thing better anyhow, so it seemed better to lean into what Rebels can do: nuke you from orbit with Torpedoes.

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11 hours ago, NaKoaLani said:

Biophysical!  Thanks for reading, appreciate your insights.  I have always been a fan of considering "strike package" type squad builds.  I like your Ace+non-ace viewpoint and have my own well rounded squad strategy of Ace+Tank(s)+.  Akin to the conglomeration of an Air superiority fighter, Air-to-ground attack craft with staying power, and a CSAR/refueling/C2 node type ship.  The first list I ever flew in a tournament was PTL Soontir, Stressbot Kath Firespray, and Vader crew Lambda shuttle.  Gives some depth and options.

I have an irrational love of the F5, so that list makes me feel like I've got a flight of F5s backing up an F15 (80s era, when those planes were new).

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