Tie Defender thoughts…

Originally when wave 4 was set to come out and the cloak/decloak mechanics were revealed I was initially just as excited for the Phantom as everyone else.  After playing with the Phantom significantly I love it just as I thought but I think I still prefer Soontir with PTL slightly.  However what I have begun to really be interested in far more than I expected is the Defender.  I know many people don’t like the Defender and I can understand why.  It does seem to be a little pricy for what it brings.  However I can’t help but feel that the Defender is still a powerhouse, just one that needs to be flown very differently than how most ships in the game currently fly.  I regrettably haven’t had as much practice with the Defender as I would like, however every time I have used the ship I loved it.  Even when it has got shot down quickly because my opponent didn’t want to deal with it for longer than two turns.

If anyone out there has had success with the Defender I would love to hear about the squads you have run.  It would be great to receive advice on the strategy you have used when flying the Defender, and asteroid placement when running one in your squad.  I have been thinking about how to pair the Defender with Soontir Fel (since he is still my absolute favorite pilot in the game).  A few squads I have been thinking of lately are:

Rexler Brath+HLC+Predator
Soontir Fel+RGT+PTL+SD+TC
Night Beast+TC

second is same as the first except Colonel Vessery replaces Brath and VI+EU replaces Predator also 99 pts

2x Delta+Ion Cannon

I think having the choice of initiative is highly important because if any other 9 pilot skills are flying I want Soontir to move second keeping him out of harms way.  My X-Wing group is small and I haven’t been able to try these specific lists yet but I would love some feedback as well as tips on using the Defender in general.

  1. Push the Limit reads that your extra action must be from your action bar. Expert Handling does not add Barrel Roll to your action bar. So Tycho must always Barrel Roll as his first action, if he wants to Barrel Roll at all.

    Thankfully, it’s usually better to Roll before you Boost when positioning. So Tycho does not lose a whole lot of prowess here, just some. Mainly he loses a bit of speed on certain escape lines, when he is trying to race out of Range 3. The typical move would be 5 forward or 3 bank, Boost to bank (further), and roll forward away from the attacker. Tycho cannot execute this move. He has to roll first, and that makes him go a little less far.

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  2. Defensively, yes it’s better to Boost first then Roll.

    But when you are looking to to side-slip and get a free shot on a target coming your way, typically you will Roll first (out of arc) then Boost to get a Range 1 shot on the side of the target. Often in this situation Boosting first is actually impossible (would ram the target).

    It’s worth noting that I like Jake far better than Tycho. I’m a fan of Tycho especially with Rebel Captive/R3A2/MaraJade/Tactician out there now, though. He’s an especially good counter to Rebel Captive, because he literally does not care — he was a captive once and knows the torture, and is more than happy to save the captive from it by blowing up the target.

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  3. A-wing starts with PTL always — if you want an extra ept, add Test Pilot + (whatever). The only exception I know is if you want a really cheap Draw Their Fire for Biggs (18 Green w/ DTF + Refit), but I haven’t ever seen a list where I felt that quite worked.

    I look forward to seeing PTL alternatives appear in the future. But we haven’t seen any yet that would work for A-wing or Interceptor. These ships get such tremendous use out of their defensive and positional actions, I think we may never see one. PTL is ideal for these ships, their perfect card already come.

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  4. Theorist, you have way more competitive experience than me so I’ll bow to your knowledge but personally I’ve never played a miniature game where I’ve ever considered anything as an always…. My thinking and limited “friendly” games with Tycho, Test Pilot, Expert Handling, Outmaneuver and Chaardan has helped to mitigate the defensive ship you don’t have to shoot at. Out of arc on shuttles or YT’s and the humble 2 dice gives people something else to think about..

    PTL either drops EH or OM, gives epic defensive so maybe I’m just a bit to aggressive.

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  5. I am always looking for new ways to use old pieces, as well. It’s just that it’d be very hard for an ept to replace “the best action you haven’t used this turn” as a superior choice. The closest is Lone Wolf which is offense and defense for no penalty, but with A-wing PTL+Lone Wolf makes more sense than replacing PTL and squints don’t want toigive up Roll+Boost or turtling or all the other action combos.

    How do you make an ept that is better than Evade when you need Evade, and better than Boost when you need Boost, etc etc? I can think of maybe one card:

    Perfect Execution (cost 4, ept)
    “Whenever you perform an action, if you are not stressed you may perform that action again. Then receive 1 stress token.”

    This would allow x2 Barrel Roll, x2 Boost, x2 Focus, or x2 Evade. These are things that PTL can’t give you, except that F+E is better than F+F.

    But until we see such a card that could compete at all with PTL by offering powerful alternate choices, I think we’ll continue to see PTL instead.

    I’d really like Perfect Execution on some of my Kyle builds as well. RecSpec would combo well with it. Farlander as well might like it. Boba w/ RecSpec maybe, to really turtle up?

    Here’s hoping we see a new card on the horizon that would be great for A-wing and Interceptor. I like PTL fine and have no qualms with it, but legitimate alternatives would be nice.

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  6. I’m beginning to think Keyan + PTL + Adv Sensors + BWing/E2 + C3PO is the (slightly more expensive) Rebel Soontir Fel. He’s at least everything I wanted a named pilot B Wing to be.

    Supported with the Jan Ors crew card on a B Wing he evades about as many shots as Soontir does. (Gotta do SOMETHING with that extra focus token after all).

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  7. I would have agreed with you, until the Z-95 dropped, and Biggs + 3Z became available at 61pts.

    I don’t think we’ve seen the most out of that archetype as the rebels are struggling for a ship that gives enough offense (3 dice gun or payload) & defense for those 39 points. I think that will change with Rebel Aces. (Jake, Proton Rockets, Keyan etc)

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  8. AdvS on Corran (with engine though) makes him extremely wily and I really like how he can practically not be boxed in by many ships, but he’s less of a hard, reliable hitter than if you had FCS on him.

    Whatever you do with those points, use reliable hitters with them. I’m thinking B-Wings with FCS, or a Dutch Garven combo.

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  9. The list I’ve probably had the most success with is:

    Corran w PTL + FCS + R2D2.
    Han Solo w C3PO + Gunner + Millennium Falcon + VI

    Han’s job is to take out a couple of ships before the end game. Get his hands dirty and spam C3PO with evade every round so he lasts longer. Very hard to kill Corran w R2D2 and he’s an excellent end game pilot. Corran double tabs at carefully selected times, always with TL and sometimes with a focus to add.

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  10. For 42 points I like this a little better:
    Etahn + PTL + R2D2 + Adv Sens

    He can’t be blocked for actions, he always gets 2, and he regenerates a shield every turn.

    I’ve flown Corran + PTL + R2D2 + FCS a lot, and it is really hard to turn him around. Since you almost always have to use PTL, you can never pick a K-Turn because of the stress. But with the build above with Etahn, you should always start each turn stress free, so you can still K-Turn if you need to.

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  11. I used Etahn with PTL, Sensors and R2 unit in an escalation event the other day… the dude can tank. Ramming to block a pair of shuttles with FCS/HLC and eating all the shots while shooting the one in back, with Chewie flying in circles and murdering everything was a lot of fun 😀

    The way I used him, he did a LOT of green hard 2’s so I’d be nervous about the R2-D2 purchase. If I had the points I’d rather take an R2 and shield/hull upgrade for extra durability. E-wing rarely uses the mod slot anyway.

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  12. Etahn also has a few advantages over Corran Horn, who is a long play kinda guy. Etahn can really help you instagib or at least cripple some nasty ships early, and Etahn draws a LOT of agro away from the rest of your boys. Dodging some arcs and turtling up as necessary makes him pretty survivable and his passive ability keeps churning out crits on the enemy.

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  13. Man, Scum is super tough right now. They really just need more unit options. I’ve got a feeling whatever comes after the first batch of releases is going to be Scum centric.

    I really like having IG-88, Diala, and Luke in the same list. Lots of offense and a ton of recover. The problem is that to compliment these you’d want really cheap units, which is something Scum isn’t exactly a specialist in doing.

    At the moment, I think if you want to use Scum you actually play Imperial and then splash two Scum units. Probably something like this:

    1 x IG-88 (12)
    1 x Trandoshan Hunters (7)
    1 x Stormtrooper (6)
    1 x Royal Guard (8)
    3 x Imperial Officer (6)
    1 x Temporary Alliance (1)

  14. Have you seen my article? http://teamcovenant.com/hida77/2015/02/09/scum-and-villiany-my-attempt-to-work-with-lowlifes/

    I think a big thing right now is not using Iggy if you plan to main Scum. Its almost always better to Ally in Rebels when you are going main Scum. I have yet to see Scum manage to fit Iggy into a list well. His point cost is just a bad place for them right now with nothing to offset it easily.

    Alternatively, you can do as Zach said and Ally Scum (and Iggy if desired) into an Imperial list really easily. I have seen this be particularly effective, since it gets around the cost issues Scum have.

    Either way, I will say that I have been having much more success with Scum lately than I have in the past, even as of the article I linked. I think the biggest tip I can give is that Nexu(s) and Trandoshans combo very well together and it is very smart to play very conservative Turn 1. You hold back a bit more turn 1 and then unload turn 2/3 and usually can gain a Deployment Card / model advantage easily. Trandos are expensive, but they are much more punishing than Stormies or Rebel Troopers when you can make good use of all their abilities and larger health pool, especially when you have several groups.

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  15. This sounds like something I see quite a bit, but if it’s not just let me know. There is this idea that you’re spending 12 points on a model, so he should be able to come around a corner and light up some lower costed models without the risk of being killed. This is simply false. For some models, the additional point cost does result in being more difficult to defeat (ie Darth Vader), but for Han you’re paying his points for everything EXCEPT defense.

    If left under fire, he will die and he will die quickly. He rolls a white defense die, representing agility. Sometimes, he’ll dodge everything. Most of the time (regardless of the dice being used) he’s going to take a few damage. Models like Vader or Royal Guard Champion will tear into him if they can get close enough.

    So, how do you justify spending 12 points on a model that can die to Imperial Officers or Stormtroopers, let alone the big bad models of the game?

    Truthfully, I think Han was beautifully designed. He plays so much like he feels in the movies it’s awesome. He’s a very strong attacker and with his Return Fire ability, you’re going to feel like you want to leave him in harms way. This isn’t correct. That ability is FANTASTIC in the end game, when you have Han and a few models left and your opponent is down to less models as well. This does not mean you ever put him in harms way.

    What he really offers is Distracting, which grants a surge cancel to any adjacent friendly model being attacked. This ability, along with additional health and an awesome attack, is why Han Solo costs 12 points.

    When using him, I am taking other models with him that can screen for him. On his turn, he moves out in front, shoots, and pops back behind his friends who he now offers a surge cancel. Rinse and repeat until you’ve worn down the enemy forces.

    In my ‘You Must Confront Vader’ blog series, I wrote a list with Han in it here: http://teamcovenant.com/zachbunn/2015/01/06/you-must-confront-vader-part-1-imperial-assault/

    I’ve learned a lot since then, so my Han list right now would look like this:

    1 x Han Solo
    1 x Luke Skywalker
    3 x Rebel Saboteurs
    1 x Gideon

    With the new wave fresh out though, I have a lot of testing to do before I’m fully convinced of anything. Best of luck with Han, although he doesn’t need luck… right? 😀

  16. I don’t necessarily expect Han to lite stuff up with no repercussion I just have had so many games where Han dies incredibly fast I wold expect him to have a little weaker defense especially since his accuracy and damage is so strong. I just want him to have a little more staying power. I think Han will get crazy awesome once there is a unit with Distracting other than himself. Have you noticed that distracting isn’t limited in the way Protector is, so you can stack them?

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