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[Blog] How to Fix an E-Wing.

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A 'free' hit-to-crit conversion is nothing to be sniffed at, especially if you've got two or three shots on the same target. I'd happily 'gamble' on the chance my opponent suffers a crit, especially as it can force my opponent to spend defensive mods sooner. They simply cannot ignore single hits getting through, as those can quickly turn into Damage Engines on an ace, or Weapons Failure or Blinded Pilot on their low-initiative swarm pilots.

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The thing I keep getting hung up on: Gavin is 9 points more than a Rogue.  That's a lot of points.  With a trio of E-Wings, that'd be the difference between all having single or double locks with R3s (two locks is game-changing with an alpha strike list!), or all having FCS and Marksmanship.

I mean, I get that it's handy, but it went from being an 8 point ability, to a 9 point ability.  That's SLOANE pricing, and Gavin ain't Sloane.  I'm not sniffing at it, but like, at 9 points, it's got to be immense.  It seems good, but not immense.

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Double post, but...

What I'm looking at for a Torpedo Rogue list right now is this:

  • Rogue (Marksmanship, Proton Torpedoes, R3 Astromech) 68
  • Rogue (Marksmanship, Proton Torpedoes, R3 Astromech) 68
  • Rogue (Marksmanship, Plasma Torpedoes, R3 Astromech) 63

It could easily be this:

  • Gavin Darklighter (Plasma Torpedoes, R3 Astromech) 71
  • Rogue (FCS, Plasma Torpedoes, R3 Astromech) 64
  • Rogue (FCS, Plasma Torpedoes, R3 Astromech) 64

That's a lot of shield-stripping with potential crits coming through after.  Maybe I just have to feel it out on FlyCasual.  But I keep thinking it probably can't really be better.  I'd be giving up 4 dice attacks for maybe--maybe--shield stripping and bonus crits, which I can get through bullseyes (maybe).  I know Gavin can go into other squads, but 9 is just a lot of points.

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36 minutes ago, theBitterFig said:

maybe--maybe--shield stripping and bonus crits

Hmmm. Shield-stripping is useless against TIEs and Droids, but then again, the extra crits become real nasty.

But Protorps would just nuke them out of the water in the first place, which is pretty much strictly better. Someone math this out for me.

Also looks like I need to buy some E-Wings now I guess.

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1 hour ago, ClassicalMoser said:

Hmmm. Shield-stripping is useless against TIEs and Droids, but then again, the extra crits become real nasty.

But Protorps would just nuke them out of the water in the first place, which is pretty much strictly better. Someone math this out for me.

Also looks like I need to buy some E-Wings now I guess.

The guys a Fly Better discussed this last year: https://www.facebook.com/groups/flybetter/?post_id=2497260133839834

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9 hours ago, AceDogbert said:

A 'free' hit-to-crit conversion is nothing to be sniffed at, especially if you've got two or three shots on the same target. I'd happily 'gamble' on the chance my opponent suffers a crit, especially as it can force my opponent to spend defensive mods sooner. They simply cannot ignore single hits getting through, as those can quickly turn into Damage Engines on an ace, or Weapons Failure or Blinded Pilot on their low-initiative swarm pilots.

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I believe that turning a hit to a crit is stronger than you believe, especially when you have multiple ship a turn adding that crit in.

Yes, it is good, and its part of why proton torps are scary vs aces for example, but I don't think it is hard to say that active damage increases are far more desired than crit modification. It isn't that 'Crit modification is worthless.' It is more 'People are very reluctant to spend points on crit modifcation without additional benefits.'

People, for example, avoid Thane (Despite it also having a minor damage boost vs highly defensive targets) unless you want 3 X-wing Aces. Steele sees almost no play because while he is a second ace in a TIE Advanced, his ability is seen as not high impact enough for his price compared to other I5s with abilities that can mod dice, like Soontir and Whisper, despite how absurdly little Steele is paying for his initiative at this point. Its kind clear that the crit enhancement on Steele is considered 'free' despite being on a ship that forces a crit on every attack. Obviously this is different than more crits, but it is a related ability. Crits tend to see play when they come bundled with damage or modding, such as Saw Crew, the Taxi, or torpedoes, which all push damage into your list in addition to modding crits. Crits are a big part of the ability's power, but I think it is fair to say people are building TIE/Advanced Xs around ensuring target locks for the free guaranteed damage more than the crit effects.

It can definitely be worth it, Marksmanship was on the edge for example and was mostly held back by Crackshot proving 1 damage over the course of the entire game was worth more than the potential crits of Marksmanship, but its not the first choice of passive modding by any stretch. In terms of value, Gavin doesn't compare great to Marksman, he is paying a significant tax to 'force' it on himself and his two wingmen and ensure your always getting those crits on hits with no downtime, which has some utility but it doesn't fit the 'added value' niche most used crit effects fill.

Worse, while giving all of your ships the ability to land crits on a specific defender is nice if it has a ton of health, the ability has this strange sort of anti-internal synergy where the more you focus fire on one ship, the less likely it is the crits will matter. So it mostly targets large bases (Which is actually a reason to be a bit optimistic about Gavin right now, because its more likely targets will exist that will be hampered by crits for longer, most of the times I got value from him were bullying Decis and Lambdas), because even if you don't pop an ace in one turn, you probably are only hampering its combat ability for 1 turn at most when its already on its way out of the game. Crits are definitely useful (Its part of why Taxis are scary), but abilities to make your overall damage cap go up and which cause your damage to be more consistent are king. 
 

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Gavin's ability is fine on anything with a forward firing arc, so isn't necessarily in the wrong ship. The only ship with a synergy with his ability is a Autoblaster B-Wing. 

 

The E-wing has active anti-synergy with being an 'aura modder.' It both is paying a lot of points for a single ship to be powerful, meaning you can fit fewer allied ships into the list, and it doesn't want to stay at a mid-distance to get as much coverage as possible. The E-wing CAN stay at distance, but a big part of its cost is its ability to stay in close and knife fight at range 1, but doing so means its harder to keep your front arc over multiple ships. If you only cover 1 ship, your focus firing and probably would rather just add more damage to your list to get it off the board faster.

He just would be better if his base ship was cheaper, even if the 'value' of his ability was the same. Especially if it was a ship that could maintain good time on target, like Y-wings, X-wings, or U-wings. The E-wing is probably one of the worst ships to put a passive team oriented ability on in the faction because its main strength is how it can flexibly move about and engage in different ways, and pays a lot for that benefit. Even an A-wing, despite often maintain bad time on target and wanting to knife fight all the time, would be a better fit just for the price: Ditching all those stats and some odd 20-25 points would be a big deal.

These two aspects, combined with the fact Rebel doesn't really do swarms that well, is why other 'aura' ships like Howlrunner and Drea see/saw more play than Gavin. Howrunner rewards you for more traditional swarm-jousting positioning, and is cheap. They may die faster, but you probably get more shots modded overall just because they can bring more allied ships to bear. Drea is in a Y-wing, and ignoring that she doesn't just care about front arc, the Y-wing is a better ship for trying to keep distance, and is cheaper than the E-wing to boot. So their conditions synergize more with their ship, and their effects are bigger.

It isn't impossible for Gavin to add value to a list, but it strikes me as questionable for him to be 9 points more than a Rogue Squadron Escort. In a Tri-Ewing list (which is not really where Gavin wants to be anyway, he obviously would prefer to be in a list of like say... A-wings all with cluster missiles, a list I look forward to experimenting with again) taking Gavin makes the 3 torps impossible, forget about FCS as well. He isn't trash, he is solidly off meta, which is a fine place to be, but there is a reason I am not expecting him to be good, and he is probably going to stay more off meta than any other E-wings.

Unless, you know, the BEEFENING happens and we start seeing lots of large ships. In which case I am prepared to eat my words.

Edited by dezzmont

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Just going to drop this here and toss on my asbestos coat.

Gavin Darklighter (60)
Marksmanship (1)
Fire-Control System (2)
R4 Astromech (2)

Luke Skywalker (62)
Instinctive Aim (1)
Proton Torpedoes (13)
R5 Astromech (4)
Hull Upgrade (5)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)

Jek Porkins (45)
Elusive (3)
“Chopper” (2)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)
Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0

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48 minutes ago, dezzmont said:

The E-wing CAN stay at distance, but a big part of its cost is its ability to stay in close and knife fight at range 1

This I'm just going to disagree with.  E-Wings excel at trading at Range 3, where their large pool of green dice plus double offensive mods (particularly when also bringing FCS) will give them an advantage.  Combine also with potential Torpedoes (Gavin might as well bring Plasmas to soften things up for the rest of the squad) removing the range 3 defensive bonus, and they love to hang out at longer ranges.

Meanwhile, if they don't bring R4, they *aren't* great knife-fighters.  Marginally better than T-65s due to S-Loops being better than T-Rolls, and 3 green dice being better at soaking hits than 2 greens.  Even with R4, the can't Roll and have Focus mods...

That's not to say the E-Wing is the best potential ship for Gavin.  But if he's mediocre on an E-Wing, it's not because E-Wings are Knife-Fighters who hate to be at long range.

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2 minutes ago, theBitterFig said:

This I'm just going to disagree with.  E-Wings excel at trading at Range 3, where their large pool of green dice plus double offensive mods (particularly when also bringing FCS) will give them an advantage.  Combine also with potential Torpedoes (Gavin might as well bring Plasmas to soften things up for the rest of the squad) removing the range 3 defensive bonus, and they love to hang out at longer ranges.

Meanwhile, if they don't bring R4, they *aren't* great knife-fighters.  Marginally better than T-65s due to S-Loops being better than T-Rolls, and 3 green dice being better at soaking hits than 2 greens.  Even with R4, the can't Roll and have Focus mods...

 

Well that just loops back into the weird thing about E-wings right? If your only flying them at range 3 sniping away with double modded shots, your paying a lot for those 1 hard reds, your boosts and loops, and your initiative (presumably).

If you just keep em close, your paying a lot for health, those long range target locks, and aren't getting mods.

I have flown E-wings a LOT, and I find they work best when they start long, and at some point in the game zoom off to 'pounce' on something, but it probably was incorrect for me to imply they clearly don't want to stay at range 3, when the fact they can 'snipe-joust' is a big deal.

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