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Blail Blerg

How do you play vulture swarm vs aces?

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What's your special methods for taking Sear vulture swarm against 2 aces or 3 aces? Assume that the ace opponent is at least regional champion level caliber with aces and knows how to bait and switch (will go for defensive runaways when needed). 

What starting setup do you go with? 

How many blocking moves do you use? 

I seem to have an issue splitting facing too much, guess the block wrong (or sometimes correctly) but can't get enough piddle guns on arc. Sear's ability has been pretty useful to crackshot against ace green dice though. 

Spread out 3x3or2 blocks deployed slightly towards center and one 2by4-block on the corner hasn't worked too well for me yet. 

 

how would you describe the win con of the vulture swarm? 

 

Also, I'm not impressed with discord missiles: they threaten the same area as a normal attack. 

Edited by Blail Blerg

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I can’t be specific to Sear swarms necessarily but I can speak to swarms in General.

I try to see where objects are and decide where my swarm is going to have the best/easiest time getting positions on Aces. Often I will set up in a loose formation where I am going to force Aces to turn into obstacles and chase me until I decide to turn or I might straddle a side and see if they choose to joust for some silly reason, expecting to bait and switch.

Against Aces, I usually start slow and see what my opponent is going to try and go. I still have the ship I want first so I might go a bit wide with a net and see if they turn in or out from it. Turning in and being aggressive means I start looking for where I am able to block and put arcs on those area’s. If they turn away I simply take what target is going to present itself to my net and focus on that as much as possible. I tend to not use more than two blocks while keeping as many arcs in a no fly zone. I can’t account for every move, but based on the situation I can usually pick one or two and if my opponent does something odd and misses the block they should still be facing shots.

I have learned swarms much like say a swarm of bees is not good flying in a box formation. It’s too predictable and worse often easily avoided or at least can minimize shots on a target. A swarm needs enough space to maneuver even a bit erratically without cutting itself off while at the same time close enough to collapse a side and move in and out to keep pressure on Aces who would prefer not to deal with it.

Any Swarms win condition is spreading damage as much as possible, and use numbers to force mistakes which leads to easier shots and or kills. A full Ace kill vs 2-3 heavily damaged swarm ships is always going to be in the swarms favor. Often the best way to protect a damaged swarm ship is to turn it into the blocker. Vultures are really solid with this because of their networked Calculations if you can keep them fairly close without over committing.

Edited by Ronu
Grammar at 3 am can be flawed

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1 hour ago, Blail Blerg said:

Also, I'm not impressed with discord missiles: they threaten the same area as a normal attack. 

I think looking at Discord Missiles as an attack is a misconception. Even I made that mistake early on. In all honesty Discord’s should be treated as mines that you are simply immune to. Thinking of them that way where you are wanting to deny a ship a route actually can make a swarm far more effective. If you know they aren’t going to risk hitting those buzz droids then they are going a different direction. Which means easier to know where your guns go and where likely blocks are to occur.

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6 minutes ago, Ronu said:

I think looking at Discord Missiles as an attack is a misconception. Even I made that mistake early on. In all honesty Discord’s should be treated as mines that you are simply immune to. Thinking of them that way where you are wanting to deny a ship a route actually can make a swarm far more effective. If you know they aren’t going to risk hitting those buzz droids then they are going a different direction. Which means easier to know where your guns go and where likely blocks are to occur.

Can you explain more? 

There's certain cost in discords: 4 points, 4 less grapples. EACH. 

 

---

There's an adage from another game: paying points for zone control is another pretty way to phrase paying for attacks that miss. 

While at glance, you think: "ho ho, what a dumbass, they don't understand zone control." 

In reality, sometimes in that game and in this game, the opportunity cost of forgo-ing a true attack for that missing attack/zone control is too high and often other parts of the list/team are unable to meaningfully capitalize on the zone control afforded. 

--

Another perspective, for 5 points I can get ESC, which is a pretty real increase in firepower. Even just 1 or 3 copies if I can't get 6. And that creates huge zone control, with R3 being a serious threat. 

Edited by Blail Blerg
providing counterexamples. as this is a difficult topic, not a simple topic

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10 minutes ago, Blail Blerg said:

Can you explain more? 

There's certain cost in discords: 4 points, 4 less grapples. EACH. 

 

---

There's an adage from another game: paying points for zone control is another pretty way to phrase paying for attacks that miss. 

While at glance, you think: "ho ho, what a dumbass, they don't understand zone control." 

In reality, sometimes in that game and in this game, the opportunity cost of forgo-ing a true attack for that missing attack/zone control is too high and often other parts of the list/team are unable to try capitalize on the zone control afforded. 

--

Another perspective, for 5 points I can get ESC, which is a pretty real increase in firepower. Even just 1 or 3 copies if I can't get 6. 

So swarms often already have “zone control”. They have numbers and they go where they want especially before Aces. The other thing about a swarm is they dictate where fights happen moreso than Aces once combat actually begins. This is because the Aces now have to be aware of where a swarm is likely to go and put arcs and is trying to minimize shots coming in. If you’re using Discord’s as a mine rather than a true attack, you double down on this thought. You can either herd them into or around the “mine” which is advantageous to the swarm. The other option is to simply force them into a less desired option which might mean no shots being taken by the Aces preserving your swarm and often allowing the swarm to either become the chasers or regroup to a point where they are able to reassert their advantage.

Edited by Ronu

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I prefer the non-Sear Scavenger swarm archetype for my droids, but, the principles are the same.

Just wait. You've got hairpin turns, and you win the final salvo by an overwhelming amount vs triple ace lists. They'll be forced to engage you at some point, and when they start to commit, you can pivot the swarm that way. While you might not get many bullseye arcs on the first turn that way, you can almost definitely get them on the second turn of fighting, when the aces either have to turn away and flee, or commit to the fight.

While this does open you up to being flanked, choosing the area of engagement (one of your corners, with favourable rocks) can limit their options to safely engage, and, if they choose to anyways, you can park a Droid or two on the obstacles, and get continued shots on them as they approach and retreat.

You just need to be careful with fast lists that they don't get the jump on you while you're still durdling. I tend to set up in an initial pinwheel, facing the corner I want to camp in, and then slowly approach it, speeding up my turns or straights if the aces are racing in.

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2 hours ago, Kreen said:

I prefer the non-Sear Scavenger swarm archetype for my droids, but, the principles are the same.

Just wait. You've got hairpin turns, and you win the final salvo by an overwhelming amount vs triple ace lists. They'll be forced to engage you at some point, and when they start to commit, you can pivot the swarm that way. While you might not get many bullseye arcs on the first turn that way, you can almost definitely get them on the second turn of fighting, when the aces either have to turn away and flee, or commit to the fight.

While this does open you up to being flanked, choosing the area of engagement (one of your corners, with favourable rocks) can limit their options to safely engage, and, if they choose to anyways, you can park a Droid or two on the obstacles, and get continued shots on them as they approach and retreat.

You just need to be careful with fast lists that they don't get the jump on you while you're still durdling. I tend to set up in an initial pinwheel, facing the corner I want to camp in, and then slowly approach it, speeding up my turns or straights if the aces are racing in.

If the internet at Large is to be believed, this isn't fair to the ace player. Having more salvo dice than your opponent isn't sporting.  Be careful with this strategy.

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2 hours ago, Ronu said:

@Blail Blerg what kinds of issues are you running into against aces using a swarm in general? 

I’m actually only having trouble with sear vultures not swarms in general. I can do fine with 5x. 

Not having enough shots on target even if I get the block. Or having trouble threatening aces. I guess I have to go more gung-ho and stop trying to stop two things at once and really all-in to nuke one thing. 

Sometimrs getting the guess wrong on if they run or push. 

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5 hours ago, Crimsonwarlock said:

If the internet at Large is to be believed, this isn't fair to the ace player. Having more salvo dice than your opponent isn't sporting.  Be careful with this strategy.

While I get that you're joking, I am also going to address the complaint, because it might come up for real.

It comes down to a matter of list building. If you want to take aces, your plan is, in part, to win on time with points fortressing. Maybe you have a 120 point Kylo you plan to run with, or maybe you just intend to arc dodge while getting shots in. Either way, you're points fortressing, as an integral part of your strategy.

To then turn around, and say that the reverse is unfair - your opponent points fortressing (which is exactly what delaying until a favourable final salvo is) - then, you are, in the process, saying that your list and strategy is unfair.

And, hey, final salvo is the draw mechanic for a reason. If they had wanted it to be a coin flip, they could have made it a coin flip.

I guess the only time that you don't want to let your opponent push it to final salvo is if they also have a jousting list that hits harder. You don't want them to kill more points than you can in one single, final round of shooting.

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5 hours ago, Kreen said:

It comes down to a matter of list building. If you want to take aces, your plan is, in part, to win on time with points fortressing. Maybe you have a 120 point Kylo you plan to run with, or maybe you just intend to arc dodge while getting shots in. Either way, you're points fortressing, as an integral part of your strategy.

Not to get too testy but I just want to point out for the audience that some of us do fine with both aces and swarms without planning and list building towards final salvo (or whatever other tie-breaker). If your goal is to win by any means necessary you can have that discussion with the judges of your events but there's a large space in which to play where both players go in with the intention of actually killing significantly more stuff - **** even *all* the stuff (crazy, I know) - where you can consistently make cuts and do just fine.

I'm not going to go so far as "blame the players" here since clearly in an ideal world the game should not incentivize this sort of behavior on either side of the ace/swarm matchup, but I do feel it necessary to point out that you can do pretty well and have a lot of fun without meta-gaming the fun out of it for both you and your opponent entirely :)

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I will never freaking understand the hype over final salvo. You want to decide your game on a weird *** dice roll with the difference between 0.5^15 - 0.5^14? REALLY? 

Gonna go on a prudish rant here again. 

And waste your own time for 2 hours doing nothing? 

 

I have a much higher confidence in my skill to win over 0.5^15 - 0.5^14

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Sorry, I should clarify - I'm not suggesting that you go to final salvo. That is, I agree, very, very boring, a waste of time, and not exactly sporting.

What I'm suggesting is that, with a swarm vs ace matchup, if you hunt the aces, you will probably lose. You aren't agile enough, or mobile enough, and they can probably kite you for days, or Init Kill your ships off the board, unless you play really really well. If you hunt them, they get to decide the engagement, which means you will lose.

So, you put the onus on the ace player - decide the space that you want to engage them in, and then force them to come to you there. They will, because 9 dice vs 17 on final salvo isn't good odds for them. So, they'll engage, and you've set the grounds for engagement.

This isn't about driving it to final salvo, it's about playing the matchup. Here, you want them to come to you, so, you play the matchup in a way that incentivizes that. I'd give very different advice if Berg had asked about Sear vs three big bases, but, they didn't. I've straight up jousted through the middle with my swarm as often as I have durdled in the corner and forced them to come to me.

And, yah, I agree @punkUser, I prefer to play lists that want to kill kill kill. Points fortressing is an unfun way to play. But, you have to admit that ace lists, by their very nature, aim to take fewer shots, and make more shots. Which means that you want more points left on the board (as does any list), but with aces you do that by denying the opponent opportunities to kill your stuff. You're right, though, that not every ace list intends to properly points fortress in the way that Regen Jedi do, and, I shouldn't have generalized like that for the sake of my argument. It was disingenuous.

But, is the ace list wanting to arc dodge that different from a swarm list wanting to engage where it can keep all guns on target? If you want to execute your game plan (dodge arcs for aces, all guns on target for swarms) then you need to consider the best way to do that. Sometimes, for the swarm player in the ace matchup, that comes by forcing the opponent to come to you.

Edited by Kreen

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2 hours ago, Kreen said:

Sorry, I should clarify - I'm not suggesting that you go to final salvo. That is, I agree, very, very boring, a waste of time, and not exactly sporting.

What I'm suggesting is that, with a swarm vs ace matchup, if you hunt the aces, you will probably lose. You aren't agile enough, or mobile enough, and they can probably kite you for days, or Init Kill your ships off the board, unless you play really really well. If you hunt them, they get to decide the engagement, which means you will lose.

So, you put the onus on the ace player - decide the space that you want to engage them in, and then force them to come to you there. They will, because 9 dice vs 17 on final salvo isn't good odds for them. So, they'll engage, and you've set the grounds for engagement.

This isn't about driving it to final salvo, it's about playing the matchup. Here, you want them to come to you, so, you play the matchup in a way that incentivizes that. I'd give very different advice if Berg had asked about Sear vs three big bases, but, they didn't. I've straight up jousted through the middle with my swarm as often as I have durdled in the corner and forced them to come to me.

And, yah, I agree @punkUser, I prefer to play lists that want to kill kill kill. Points fortressing is an unfun way to play. But, you have to admit that ace lists, by their very nature, aim to take fewer shots, and make more shots. Which means that you want more points left on the board (as does any list), but with aces you do that by denying the opponent opportunities to kill your stuff. You're right, though, that not every ace list intends to properly points fortress in the way that Regen Jedi do, and, I shouldn't have generalized like that for the sake of my argument. It was disingenuous.

But, is the ace list wanting to arc dodge that different from a swarm list wanting to engage where it can keep all guns on target? If you want to execute your game plan (dodge arcs for aces, all guns on target for swarms) then you need to consider the best way to do that. Sometimes, for the swarm player in the ace matchup, that comes by forcing the opponent to come to you.

This outlook is literally what pissed off the internet when I was running star vipers.

I don't think I've ever taken a game to 0-0 points destroyed salvo, but the threat of an off sides salvo has certainly caused many an opponent to follow my game plan and fight in an area of my choosing.

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4 hours ago, Crimsonwarlock said:

This outlook is literally what pissed off the internet when I was running star vipers.

I don't think I've ever taken a game to 0-0 points destroyed salvo, but the threat of an off sides salvo has certainly caused many an opponent to follow my game plan and fight in an area of my choosing.

I mean... that does sound like threatening a 0-0 final salvo unless the opponent comes to your corner of the board.

rephrased: it sounds like unless you have the last moving ships, you’re willing to threaten non-engagement because of how final salvo works and the coincidence of the list generally having higher final salvo dice than lists that typically move after your list?

Also... there’s at least a few games that definitely went to literally the last turn (or second to last) before any shots were fired, including a 2 hour final. So that threat feels pretty real, right? It takes two to not-engage, but that’s sort of the point - if someone doesn’t leave the board edge, and the other does t want to go to the board edge, then the game goes towards the inevitable final salvo, right?

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2 hours ago, Tlfj200 said:

I mean... that does sound like threatening a 0-0 final salvo unless the opponent comes to your corner of the board.

The same can be said for any swarm list that declines to pursue a retreating ace.    Vipers are just better at it than TIE fighters.

 

 

 

Quote

rephrased: it sounds like unless you have the last moving ships, you’re willing to threaten non-engagement because of how final salvo works and the coincidence of the list generally having higher final salvo dice than lists that typically move after your list?

In a Ace vs Jedi matchup I have 12 dice to the opponents 6. (Most other ace lists top out at 8 dice) I'm effectively starting from a winning position.  Most ace player's are aware of the salvo disadvantage and come in well before the time limit.

Part of why I've started taking the list to higher level tournaments is that it matches up strongly vs the current Meta.  Vs swarms I get to play quad aces, vs aces, I get to play a hypermanueverable swarm.

 

 

Quote

Also... there’s at least a few games that definitely went to literally the last turn (or second to last) before any shots were fired, including a 2 hour final. So that threat feels pretty real, right? It takes two to not-engage, but that’s sort of the point - if someone doesn’t leave the board edge, and the other does t want to go to the board edge, then the game goes towards the inevitable final salvo, right?

People complain more loudly about defensive play vs aces, but the list actually uses the tactic a lot more vs swarms.  In these cases I don't want to go to salvo (I'm usually losing these as most swarms have at least 14 dice).  If I'm holding back here I'm looking for a few things

-the swarm player decides to charge me through the rocks and splits his forces and loses shots as he weaves through obstacles.  (This doesn't happen too often in cut games)

-given a swarm player that refuses to enter the rocks, I'm am looking for a weakness in their flight path.  Most lists will either k  turn or turn away, leaving me an opportunity to pounce.  The opponents will either K turn to regain arc (leaving me with a serious mod advantage and enough space to avoid getting blocked on the second round of fighting) or they will start turning back towards be, which allows an aggressive bank plus slide to let me slip out of arc of most of them and gain an offsides engagement.

-ocasionally I will run into someone who has a flight pattern with no discernable weakness. In the scenario you cited, Frost fortresses 2 of his ships and does donuts in the open half of the board I let him build. (In a rematch against this archetype, I will consider placing at least one rock in the opposing corner to counter this).  In this case I got to think of something better.  I've only made it this far down the flow chart a single time.

The board is only so big, if one player wants an engagement, there will be one.  If rolling dice is important to you, change in and roll them dice.  If winning is important, play the game of cat and mouse and solve the puzzle.

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21 hours ago, Crimsonwarlock said:

The board is only so big, if one player wants an engagement, there will be one.  If rolling dice is important to you, change in and roll them dice.  If winning is important, play the game of cat and mouse and solve the puzzle.

You forgot the quotes around "puzzle". I personally resent the implication that there's anything non-obvious about what people are describing here ;) For those of us who don't do it it's not because we didn't think of it; it's because we choose to play the game in the spirit in which it was intended.

If the only goal is to win there's a lot of ways to do that that aren't within the spirit of the game's design and while there's certainly some grey area around "stalling", I personally think the floor rules makes the spirit of what they are intending clear, even without iron-clad objective criteria.

Certainly opinions differ here and for people who think winning in X-Wing is super-important I'm probably not going to change anyone's minds. Thus my request is just that people stop thinking they are so clever for exploiting the win conditions in this way, and never try to convince anyone else that it's required to have fun and do well at X-Wing... it certainly isn't.

Edited by punkUser

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