I’ve been on a Falcon kick lately, but looking through my past posts I realized that I haven’t talked about the Falcon’s counterpart on the Imperial side since the very first post. (And that’s just a Bounty Hunter, which hardly even counts.)
So today and tomorrow will be devoted to your friend and mine, the Firespray.
There are a lot of things to love about Boba Fett and Kath Scarlet, but Krassis Trelix might be the Firespray pilot that appeals to me most. His ability is straightforward, self-reliant, and almost absurdly powerful in conjunction with the already monstrous Heavy Laser Cannon. It’s particularly nice for stripping Stealth from ships with 3 base Agility, but it provides guaranteed early damage against any ship.
I don’t have a pretty graph, but here’s the distribution (% chance) of Krassis’ attacks with the Cannon and Focus. The average result is 3.5 hits:
4 hits: 63.3%
3 hits: 26.4%
2 hits: 8.8%
The Academy Pilots are, of course, far less effective individually than Krassis is, but there are more of them–and, thanks to Howlrunner, they get the same reroll as long as they’re in formation. Since they shoot after Krassis, the target has likely been stripped of any defensive measures, which means the TIEs can just go straight to work on the target’s hit points. Like most Imperial lists with lots of cheap guns, it works best with Howlrunner alive; she gets a Stealth Device to make her a less attractive target and/or make her more resistant to your opponent’s fire.
(It didn’t occur to me until now, but it might be instructive to compare this to the list that won the 2012 FFG World Championship. That list had Vader with Swarm Tactics, Howlrunner with Swarm Tactics, one Obsidian Squadron Pilot, and three Academy Pilots. This list drops Swarm Tactics for Stealth to protect Howlrunner, and trades Vader and one Academy Pilot for Krassis and his giant laser gun.)
It’s not complicated. Keep your four TIEs in fairly tight formation–probably a square or kite, with Howlrunner in the rearmost rank–and point them toward your opponents. Range modifiers work in Krassis’ favor, so don’t be afraid to use him as long-range artillery support for Howlrunner’s flight of TIEs.
The list is appropriately durable (22 hit points), with agile ships and lots of firepower. It’s hardest to take down the two key pieces, and your opponent will be exposed to a great deal of troublesome fire while he or she attempts to do so. It’s also quite straightforward–I won’t say it’s a beginner list, because good formation flying is always hard, but it’s not a list that requires a lot of careful planning each round to execute. It should be fairly efficient to run, too.
With the exception of Krassis, you don’t have a good way to deal with high-Agility targets. This puts you ahead of the typical Wave 1 “swarm” list, but in Wave 2 you’ll want to watch out for A-wings and mirror matches. And although they’re fairly well protected, you do have an eggs-in-one-basket problem: Howlrunner’s presence makes the Academy Pilots worth fielding, and Krassis is the centerpiece of the list. Losing either one is a substantial blow, and particularly with Howlrunner you probably want to use Evade fairly often.
The other major issue with the list is low pilot skill. This isn’t a crippling problem, but you should be aware of it: small Rebel lists, in particular, will complete their attacks before anyone other than Howlrunner (your weakest attacker) gets to put any red dice on the table. Even more than usual, then, you want to focus fire on your opponent’s most skilled pilots as early as possible.
I warned you all a few posts ago that my first approach to problem-solving generally involves “brute force and ignorance”, and it certainly applies here. I like the occasional complicated, closely interrelated list–but sometimes I just want to point my minis in the right direction and pull the trigger. This list will be good for that.