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Mcpolle

7-8 ship swarms, are they a problem??

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Hi there, 

was at a Hyperspace event yesterday in Denmark, was a small event, but everyone had fun, man different lists there, but 2 CIS swarms, one with 7 ships, and one with 8 ships.

Spoiler they both made it to the final table, the 8 ship list winning.

All good so far, but we were talking about the limit to 8 ships, and if it is a problem.

Reason being, if a 8 ship swarm, wants to take a couple of turns, or three moving around its own board edge, then starts to turn slowly in, having 8 ships to move, then barrel roll every turn, they eat up so much time, so when you finally get an engage, there are very few engagement turns, that the swarm can very easily et the upper hand, and then use more time thinking about moves, then uses time bumping stuff, that it is almost impossible to come back from.

Anyone else seeing this, or is it just me?? It seems that a ship that is 19 points, that can barrel roll, link into a calculate action, and use oter friends calculate, seems just a little too good, if not way too good. Also with the energy shells , how many other list can have that amount of red dice is one turn ūüė쬆

I am not sure what the answer is to this, or even if there is one, they seem a very hard list to approach, one bad engage, and that is it. 

So what do you do against swarms in your areas? Are many people playing them, do you feel they are OTT? Or not?

I ran a 3 Jedi list, with regen on 2 of my ships, which I know can also be seen as a problem, but am more than expecting and hoping that R2 goes up in price in January. 

I went 4-0 in swiss, and yes you guessed it, met the 7 ships swarm in the top cut, and one bad engage, and that was it ūüė쬆

But I am not here to moan about it, (maybe a little) but would like to hear your thoughts about the CIS swarms, and what you do to combat them.

cheers

 

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1 hour ago, Mcpolle said:

 

I am not sure what the answer is to this, or even if there is one, they seem a very hard list to approach, one bad engage, and that is it. 

So what do you do against swarms in your areas?

I will try to reply in more detail later.¬†For now, yes there are in game answers to swarms that dont 100% depend on list building counters. Typically requires¬†understanding of how ranges impact engages and how to approach from a couple angles with escape routes¬†to force the swarm to make a truly difficult choice. Knowing when to attack matters to, waiting to long often plays into the swarm players hands so you dont want to dance forever, the skill and interesting part¬†is attacking quickly without over committing.¬†Knowing what pieces you have to protect into the end game matters as well, most lists are going to go to time against 8 swarms, you play to win conditions that accept that and its fine. Games going to time aren‚Äôt inherently a problem, it happens, its fine,¬†there is still a winner and loser. Half pt stacks matter and help you¬†build to a¬†win condition.¬†Typically players ‚Äúthink‚ÄĚ they are losing or behind against swarms when its actually much closer than they realize, primarily because init kills can stack very quickly during any phase of the game early, mid, or end. Particularly¬†mid/end¬†game against vultures once your inside r3. In close vultures dials are useful but they tend not to be able to get all 8 arcs on target and have to start splitting fire. As an ace player you can use that to your advantage, the 1 turns are great but otherwise the vultures are¬†fast and can overshoot¬†targets unless rock parked (which limits options for them¬†to).

Trip Jedi can absolutely beat most swarms, with angle of approach, timing of engage, and use/setup of escape routes being critical.  Most importantly jedi have such insanely reliable offense especially at r1 that you can stack multiple init kills on vultures more easily than most other lists can. Dont forget you have an evade action + force charges. Knowing how many shots/arcs you can deal with and still regen away in a single turn is crucial to. Dont be in more arcs than that isnt helpful advice but its still necessary to state. Force charges give you a great advantage to, as the swarm might block you but you still have mods. Im sure your aware as well that ftc allows jedi to fly over obstacles, that means on pretty much every turn you have escape routes, choose them unless the number of arcs youll be in or the opportunity to init kill stack is acceptable. Ultimately your goal is to prevent the swarms alpha strike which is usually very possible and the same goal against tie swarm, barrage bombers, luke wedge proton torp trench run, or even against trip jedi. Just dont overthink things and try to 100% avoid it if it means the first engage happens 30 min in, earlier partial engages with some known risk are usually fine and still deny the full alpha. After you avoid the alpha bully them the rest of the game with init kills, passive mods, regen, and better mobility.

What tactics did you try? 

Make and Post a image of the initial engage, where rocks were and where all ships were + ranges for that first engage, and what lead to it with flight path.

Edited by Boom Owl

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giphy.gif

 

You seem to think time is the problem, but even when a CIS swarm is going to time, it usually has the upper hand and would've won anyways.  My last 3 games with CIS haven't gone more than 75 minutes total (then again, I am a fast player)

 

The concern about 19pt droids being a bit much, I sympathize with, I thought they were fine, if unspectacular at 20pts each.  Struts, Shells, Discord Missiles, Sear and Tactical Relays are kind of the icing on the cake of a ship that already worked as there appears to be no definitively "wrong" way to play a CIS swarm based on results (the Trade Federation Drone and Sear have been at the top of Metawing for more than a month now and Discord Missiles, TA-175 and Struts have been in the top 10 upgrades pretty consistently which is pretty whacky considering all 3 are only available for a swarm).

 

All that being said, who else is running 7-8 ship lists?  CIS appears to be the only faction working in this design space, so I suspect that as long as it's not game breaking, the devs are okay with it being powerful (especially given how few other archetypes are currently available to the faction).  I do expect to see Sear going up with the next update and possibly the I1's (maybe even struts as well) although Kracken and TA-175 should definitely swap point costs.

Edited by MasterShake2

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8 minutes ago, ficklegreendice said:

The only problem is 10 point trajectory simulator :(

Yep.  While listbuilding isn't exactly a solution to archetypes, playable counter-lists help keep the meta in balance.

The original 3 point cost of Trajectory Simulator was probably too low, when combined with the low-low price of TIE Punishers.  That can probably come down more.

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I am the person crazy enough to run Various swarms of both Imperial and CIS. Usually the first thing opponents do is panic just watching it hit the table. So I win I’d say 1/3 of my matches right then. So don’t be intimidated by the volume of ships. 
 

all that volume can also lead to a very straightforward and blunt attack profile in many cases. I personally have learned formation flying while pretty is a good way to be blasted off a board. It’s predictable and can be countered by someone either doing something to disrupt that formation or simply disengaging until it’s forced to split it’s arcs up. 
 

also recognize your own priory targets that the swarm wants out first. You will probablY have to trade that ship even if it’s your typical end game piece. Make sure that trade is in your favor. Meaning if you don’t immediately get value back being able to get the value is a simple matter the next turn. 

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Versus 7-8 ship swarms, you have 5-6 turns, hard stop. Not turns of engagement, just 5-6 turns.

Be on the ball with how you approach it. You've got to snipe those points to avoid the final salvo in that time.

You also have to actively help your opponent move their stuff as efficiently as possible. The physical aspect is real with the mass of ships.

And finally, you have to be vigilant for people who are exaggerating that aspect to slow play. If on the first turn they take way longer than they should, call the judge over to watch. At higher level events they should have their crap together.

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2 hours ago, ficklegreendice said:

The only problem is 10 point trajectory simulator :(

Quoting for posterity sake. 

_____

I like that there's an extremely strong 7/8 list in the game, and hope there always will be. 

But this makes me want my Traj. Sim. back....

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3 hours ago, Mcpolle said:

Hi there, 

was at a Hyperspace event yesterday in Denmark, was a small event, but everyone had fun, man different lists there, but 2 CIS swarms, one with 7 ships, and one with 8 ships.

Spoiler they both made it to the final table, the 8 ship list winning.

All good so far, but we were talking about the limit to 8 ships, and if it is a problem.

Reason being, if a 8 ship swarm, wants to take a couple of turns, or three moving around its own board edge, then starts to turn slowly in, having 8 ships to move, then barrel roll every turn, they eat up so much time, so when you finally get an engage, there are very few engagement turns, that the swarm can very easily et the upper hand, and then use more time thinking about moves, then uses time bumping stuff, that it is almost impossible to come back from.

So, coming from running an 8 ship list at worlds, lemmie give my perspective. I ran 8 droids and the probe, so my list is exactly the list you're worried about, a lot of ships, and a mechanic that has me wait a couple turns before engage. I've even got an opening which is turning and rolling all my ships in the first turn.

I finished all 7 of my swiss games before time, usually well (20-30 min) before time. That's including 2 trip ace games and 2 8 v 7 ship swarm mirrors.

For the cut and FCQ i did have 4 games go to time: two against a boba fett (strong defense that takes a long time to burn down) and two against heavy beef (3 arc obi, rebel beef) where its just a lot of hull. 

Like any archetype swarms are eminently capable of getting enough engagement turns in. 

3 hours ago, Mcpolle said:

Anyone else seeing this, or is it just me?? It seems that a ship that is 19 points, that can barrel roll, link into a calculate action, and use oter friends calculate, seems just a little too good, if not way too good. Also with the energy shells , how many other list can have that amount of red dice is one turn ūüė쬆

I do think they're very good. They had a great conversion rate at worlds (though it did drop off heavily after the first round of cut)

3 hours ago, Mcpolle said:

I am not sure what the answer is to this, or even if there is one, they seem a very hard list to approach, one bad engage, and that is it. 

So what do you do against swarms in your areas? Are many people playing them, do you feel they are OTT? Or not?

I ran a 3 Jedi list, with regen on 2 of my ships, which I know can also be seen as a problem, but am more than expecting and hoping that R2 goes up in price in January. 

I went 4-0 in swiss, and yes you guessed it, met the 7 ships swarm in the top cut, and one bad engage, and that was it ūüė쬆

But I am not here to moan about it, (maybe a little) but would like to hear your thoughts about the CIS swarms, and what you do to combat them.

cheers

The ace player that should have beat me played it very aggressively, diving into R1 to keep my missiles from going off and trying to kill vultures ASAP to kill my critical mass. Boom's got a decent write up of some other tactics, so all I'll say is that approaching the CIS swarm is like approaching any other swarm, there's just more of them. Swarms test the fundamentals of the game, and the CIS swarm is particularly good at that.

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4 hours ago, Octarine-08 said:

Versus 7-8 ship swarms, you have 5-6 turns, hard stop. Not turns of engagement, just 5-6 turns.

 

Is that till they table you?  Because I've tabled way more people in 5-6 turns than games where I've had end after only 5-6 on time. 

1 hour ago, ClassicalMoser said:

TBH, with struts, ESC, and Discord all buffed so much, I’m not sure the Vultures really need to be 19 instead of 20.

But what do I know?

 

How could you not love this face?

a27d24_79e8d9a7379c44bd8451c7ade2884b5b~

Edited by MasterShake2

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You’re absolutely right, the current prevailance of swarms in a timed game is problematic, particularly when you have few moves to do anything to damage them, they’re already winning a final salvo if you go to time, and if you have a slow ship in your list you have to have a plan to destroy enough points to make up for it’s inevitable demise very quickly. 
 

Gas clouds and grappling struts are essentially taking away two of the important counters to swarms from the old days, and vultures just seem to have far more tricks up their sleeves and be more efficient than TIEs.

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Man, if you think struts just allow ships to ignore obstacles you're definitely reading them wrong

Struts take a lot of time to internalize and appreciate, because there is A LOT of text

But, here's the long and short:

1.) "Overlap" and "move through" are separate things in 2nd edition

You can't fly through stuff like you're Dash or even a Mining Tie, you have to physically land on the obstacle specifically while executing a maneuver to trigger struts

Swz41_landing-struts-closed.png

And because it's "while you execute a maneuver," a strutted ship can be thrown onto a rock via tractor and still suffer ALL the effects of it (unless, obviously, it was already parked on a rock to begin with)

This also means they can't roll onto a rock and land like some kinda robotic gymnast. This, in turn, makes struts pretty dang predictable 

2.) Movement is obviously limited, but also surprisingly limited

Swz41_landing-struts-open.png

Landed droids can only pivot 90-degrees or laze off an obstacle with a 2-straight. The ONLY exception is if they barrel-roll off the obstacle before they reveal their dial (since adv. sensors are super expensive, they'll have to do this a turn in advance)

What does this mean ito gameplay? Getting behind them is sad, SAD times for the strutted ship

 

 

This is what I've come to appreciate after actually playing a lot of struts. They're good **** fun! They're also VERY easily counter-played if you're not careful, unless the opponent just has no idea how they work or what their limitations are

Edited by ficklegreendice

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27 minutes ago, ficklegreendice said:

Man, if you think struts just allow ships to ignore obstacles you're definitely reading them wrong

Struts take a lot of time to internalize and appreciate, because there is A LOT of text

But, here's the long and short:

1.) "Overlap" and "move through" are separate things in 2nd edition

You can't fly through stuff like you're Dash or even a Mining Tie, you have to physically land on the obstacle specifically while executing a maneuver to trigger struts

Swz41_landing-struts-closed.png

And because it's "while you execute a maneuver," a strutted ship can be thrown onto a rock via tractor and still suffer ALL the effects of it (unless, obviously, it was already parked on a rock to begin with)

This also means they can't roll onto a rock and land like some kinda robotic gymnast. This, in turn, makes struts pretty dang predictable 

2.) Movement is obviously limited, but also surprisingly limited

Swz41_landing-struts-open.png

Landed droids can only pivot 90-degrees or laze off an obstacle with a 2-straight. The ONLY exception is if they barrel-roll off the obstacle before they reveal their dial (since adv. sensors are super expensive, they'll have to do this a turn in advance)

What does this mean ito gameplay? Getting behind them is sad, SAD times for the strutted ship

 

 

This is what I've come to appreciate after actually playing a lot of struts. They're good **** fun! They're also VERY easily counter-played if you're not careful, unless the opponent just has no idea how they work or what their limitations are

 

So a few points:

I've never had a droid tractored onto a rock/debris without it's struts open.  Even if you catch one that's not on an obstacle itself, frequently it has friends on any obstacle you could throw it on which will stop the roll/boost...and by frequently, I mean, literally every time.  We have locals who love to run Ketsu and tugs, they have never tractored a droid onto a rock when the struts were open...and they have tractored them a lot.  Maybe if you're only running 4 droids or something...but if you're running that few, they're probably all on rocks anyways.  It's cool if you can pull it off, but definitely don't count on it.

-

Getting behind them doesn't work that well.  The turn 90 plus barrel roll can let be behind their current position facing left/right, so unless you were really far away and behind them already, this doesn't really help and trying to plot maneuvers behind a skilled droid player will roughly 100% of the time lead to you getting blocked by the droid you were trying to move behind.  Vultures having the Roll -> calculate is really what lets them abuse struts because the number of positions and directions they can face is obnoxiously high.

-

There aren't REALLY limitations on struts, there are, but they're so easy to work around that even minor practice sees these limitations largely mitigated.  The only limitation is that you sometimes have to be like "oh no, I can't use this 1pt upgrade and must actually plot maneuvers and worry about rocks like these pleb ships!" which isn't much of a limitation at all.

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well, I wouldn't really mind seeing Vultures enable to perform struts

but it's basically ALL the Hyena has going for it outside of being a Probe caddie. Parking on a rock lets it fire off multiple-charge munitions without being trivially swiss chessed or outmaneuvered by most things

and since my experience is 90% hyena, I can say confidently they're really not that terrible to play against

 

Fortunately, grappling and landing struts are two different cards so you can nerf one without the other :)

 

but yeah, should've specified I only have two vultures and I like the Hyena a lot more. More fun, imo, because it's an underdog and because 404 is just the best (most fun/awesome) thing ever

Edited by ficklegreendice

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3 hours ago, ficklegreendice said:

Man, if you think struts just allow ships to ignore obstacles you're definitely reading them wrong

Struts take a lot of time to internalize and appreciate, because there is A LOT of text

I mean, this is all true.

But if I'm talking up struts I'll still say struts let a Roger "ignore rocks" because it's a lot faster to say that than to say "struts allow a Roger a lot of options for making particular plans to minimize the impact of rocks."  Like, a TIE Fighter just has to go around.  Roger can plan the right move, land directly on the rock, roll off or hang out for a bit, and not be horribly inconvenienced by the process.

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It's all about your approach and engagement. I guess I need to do a write up on swarm engagements. Pretty much, you dont want to engage them head on. They have speeds from 2 straight to 5 straight, so trying to predict just inside range 3 can be tricky cause you either go slow and they do a 2 straight and maybe you dont make any combat range, and next round all 8 are in your face at range 1, YIKES!, or you go too fast and they go 5 straight and now you are in range of all 8 drones. YIKES! You also need to keep escape routes open after engagement, because the block is coming next round!

You want to maneuver and engage when the swarm has to turn (or even bank, since the drone 3 banks are red) into you. The distance traveled of a 1 hard and 2 or 3 hard is very slim. This gives you a nice approximate space of engagement and can then engage the swarm just inside range 3 and not in range of all 8 ships.

 

Notice in the image below, the same ship did a 1 sharp and a 3 sharp. The distance traveled toward your ship with the 3 versus the 1, was about 1.5 extra base lengths. That is all the distance you need to worry about when engaging. Not a 5 straight vs a 2 straight.

UCTtghl.png?1

 

In this simple example, just doing a 2 straight with your ship on the right, if they do a hard 1 you guarantee engagement with the three ships on right side of swarm.  And worse case is they all do a 3 sharp like in the example below, but even then you are only in range of 5 of the 8 ships. Now, this is a simple example, and with better setup and engagement lanes, you can get engagement to just the front 3 ships only, or maybe have obstacle coverage from half the swarm, etc.

NYTd2xh.png?1

 

Playing against smarter/experienced swarm player, they will know to roll left a round early to turn in a round sooner, or even know how to shift the entire swarm formation with hard 1s from the inside ships and 3 hards from the outside, so you engage 4 or 5 no matter what, not just 3. But that is the fun of the game, trying to outsmart your opponent.

Good luck!

Edited by wurms

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42 minutes ago, wurms said:

It's all about your approach and engagement. I guess I need to do a write up on swarm engagements. Pretty much, you dont want to engage them head on. They have speeds from 2 straight to 5 straight, so trying to predict just inside range 3 can be tricky cause you either go slow and they do a 2 straight and maybe you dont make any combat range, and next round all 8 are in your face at range 1, YIKES!, or you go too fast and they go 5 straight and now you are in range of all 8 drones. YIKES! You also need to keep escape routes open after engagement, because the block is coming next round!

You want to maneuver and engage when the swarm has to turn (or even bank, since the drone 3 banks are red) into you. The distance traveled of a 1 hard and 2 or 3 hard is very slim. This gives you a nice approximate space of engagement and can then engage the swarm just inside range 3 and not in range of all 8 ships.

 

Notice in the image below, the same ship did a 1 sharp and a 3 sharp. The distance traveled toward your ship with the 3 versus the 1, was about 1.5 extra base lengths. That is all the distance you need to worry about when engaging. Not a 5 straight vs a 2 straight.

UCTtghl.png?1

 

In this simple example, just doing a 2 straight with your ship on the right, if they do a hard 1 you guarantee engagement with the three ships on right side of swarm.  And worse case is they all do a 3 sharp like in the example below, but even then you are only in range of 5 of the 8 ships. Now, this is a simple example, and with better setup and engagement lanes, you can get engagement to just the front 3 ships only, or maybe have obstacle coverage from half the swarm, etc.

NYTd2xh.png?1

 

Playing against smarter/experienced swarm player, they will know to roll left a round early to turn in a round sooner, or even know how to shift the entire swarm formation with hard 1s from the inside ships and 3 hards from the outside, so you engage 4 or 5 no matter what, not just 3. But that is the fun of the game, trying to outsmart your opponent.

Good luck!

Good advice. 

 

Also, splitting up your squad, or even triple-splitting up your squad (while still getting each and every single one firing and not killboxed) also murders swarms hard. 

2 Jedi? 3 Jedi? 

Those 20 point buggers go down fast and don't know where to point. 

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8 hours ago, MasterShake2 said:

Is that till they table you?  Because I've tabled way more people in 5-6 turns than games where I've had end after only 5-6 on time. 

Just raw turns. Big pileups eat up a lot of time.

You've admitted to being as fast player.

Unless I've seen the player play a similar list in a tournament setting before, I'm not comfortable assuming they can play fast enough to allow 8-10 rounds.

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I'd far rather face a swarm than double regen Jedi.

If they're a better player than me, I'll never get to shoot the Jedi. At least I can score some points against a swarm, and it's a lot more fun seeing how many I can kill than watching the Jedi pootle around regenerating the few damage I manage to inflict.

Total turns of shooting are probably very similar.

 

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15 hours ago, Octarine-08 said:

Be on the ball with how you approach it. You've got to snipe those points to avoid the final salvo in that time.

This. You don't have to wipe out the swarm to win in a timed game. You quite feasibly can't - especially something like a TIE/fo swarm, where you could be facing 7 ships each taking as much killing as an A-wing or TIE/v1.

What you need to do is kill enough to be in the lead and stay in the lead.

I would agree that head on is almost always bad. If you must do that, do that amongst a dense obstacle field where bringing multiple shots to bear on the same target becomes really hard (obvious exception for grappling/landing struts or modified TIE/ln with notched stabilizers). Breaking up a formation with trajectory simulator bombs is the obvious one, but rocks work perfectly well too.

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I play swarms and often I'm done picking my dials before my opponent with 3 ships is done.

 

20 hours ago, Ronu said:

I personally have learned formation flying while pretty is a good way to be blasted off a board. It’s predictable and can be countered by someone either doing something to disrupt that formation or simply disengaging until it’s forced to split it’s arcs up. 

I discovered this years ago in 1st ed and argued this point for years on these message boards.  You don't know how happy I am to see someone else say this.

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48 minutes ago, heychadwick said:

I play swarms and often I'm done picking my dials before my opponent with 3 ships is done.

 

I discovered this years ago in 1st ed and argued this point for years on these message boards.  You don't know how happy I am to see someone else say this.

I think it's why I like Heavy Swarms and TIE/fo (who have just enough to stand on their own two feet) rather than swarms where everyone's tied to a range 1 'choke chain' to Iden Versio/Howlrunner/Networked Calculation wingdroids/whatever. I think Admiral Sloane is probably the best imperial force multiplier for precisely that reason.

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