May 11, 2015

Critiquing an X-WIng Escalation list

Yesterday's event was a lot of fun but it was also important for giving me some more insights into the game and a clearer idea of what works well in X-Wing.  As a game its very balanced, far more so than WHFB for example and there doesn't appear to be one uber-winner takes all list although there are some that are flavour of the month.  The lists at Cerberus varied considerably and I picked up a few good ideas from my opponents about what to take and how to use ships effectively.

Things I picked up/learned
Shooting first (getting initiative) is vital
For an Imperial player (like me) this is doubly so as our ships are horribly fragile.  Their superior agility counts for nothing if they get blasted before they can shoot anything e.g. Soontir Fel at PS9 is awesome but not if your opponents PS9 ship goes before him - although here the rules do state that both combats happen simultaneously (like ASF vs. ASF in WHFB).  In most games I would get ships into good positions only to have them die quickly - Academy Pilots the main culprits.
Couple of solutions for me seeing as I like Tie Swarms

  • Don't spend your full point allowance, always leave 1-3 points off to gain initiative.
  • If you can squeeze in some Obsidian Pilots rather than Academy Drones PS3 for +1pt.
  • Swarm Tactics - cheap and effective way of getting best of both worlds, moving and shooting fist.
There is a worry that X-Wing players reading this could go think the game is going the way of 40k and becoming a "whoever shoots first wins" type game.  But the games inherent balance makes this very unlikely, but it does become a far more important issue for Imperials than it is for other factions.

Too many upgrades makes for forgotten opportunities
I seemed to forget to uncloak my Phantom several times during each game which got freaking annoying.  Opponents also forgot to use particular upgrades as well - Predator (the ability to re-roll one attack dice) a common omission.  It's easy to do as games become more intense but sometimes you just need to slow down and work through your ships carefully.  I have seen club mate Jeff for example run Scum ships with more Upgrades than there were Asteroids on the table.

De-cloak, de-cloak, de-cloak
Almost as bad as forgetting your Stormtrooper move as a German player in FOW - something that caused me to write the word "Stormtrooper" on both hands during one tournament a few years back.

One target at a time
In my last game my opponent kept spreading his fire and while he damaged 6/7 of my ships leaving 5/7 on just a single hull point he only killed 1 a Tie Interceptor because he kept switching targets. My tactic was to focus everyone on a single target - important if your an Imperial player.

Too many ships may be too many
It got quite hard moving 7 ships around the table at times particularly when 4-5 enemy ships were in the vicinity.  I like having a lot of bodies on the table but at times there were simply too many and ships were getting in each-others way and making positioning key attacks difficult.

How my list went
Echo - worked well enough but I found it difficult to move him properly. Switching to Whisper with the straight de-cloak should make that easier. But it seemed that only got to shoot at a decent target 1 turn in 2 as I failed to move him effectively. Having other friendly ships nearby only made things harder as some games I blocked myself in.  Intelligence Agent was a good upgrade for just 1 point and did come in handy, ACD is mandatory so the set-up I used was pretty good.  PS8 not enough though so Whisper next time.

Some games he missed a lot so you need something else to do damage for you if and when that happens.
 Howlrunner - is golden and surprisingly only 1/2 opponents facing her opted to target her first ahead of the Academy Ties.
Soontir Fel - if you don't get focus on him then you are wasting him.  So many turns I flew him into somebody or over something lost his action & therefore the ability to push the limit and double focus.  Shield upgrade on him worked a treat particularly against Rebel lists that boost the number of criticals that come through.

Targeting computer was a waste of points on him though.

Something to try in the future is giving another ship Wingman to remove the stress once its on.  Soontir's greens as good but not that good.

Had 3 of these guys in the end and they're great but if I can shave points off elsewhere then I'll switch to PS3 Obsidian pilots from now on.

I also had a Royal Guard Interceptor in Game 4 but his contribution consisted of moving twice and then dying.

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