List Spotlight: “The Big XXX Deal”

This past weekend, 27./28.7.19, was the Paris System Open. I was unexpectedly able to go, and I took it as an opportunity to get some much-needed practice for the upcoming Continental Championship (“Euros”) in Krakow, Poland, in a month. The battle reports for both the main event with my Five A-Wings and for the side event will follow later this week. This post here is a list spotlight where I want to present my Hyperspace Qualifier list. I went 4-1 with it in my first 5 games, and I will go into the loss in more detail in the battle report.

The List

Temmin Wexley (54), Composure (1), Integrated S-Foils (0)
Jessika Pava (51), BB Astromech (3), Integrated S-Foils (0)
Lieutenant Bastian (48), Integrated S-Foils (0)
Finn (29), Heroic (1), Advanced Optics (4), Perceptive Copilot (8)
Total: 199
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0

A Bit of History

I posted the predecessor on the FFG forum back on January 6th, born from a simple idea: how do I get as many double modified attacks with 3 red dice? My answer was basically 4 T70 X-Wings, where the fourth was Lulo Lampar. I was – of course – not the only person to think of it, and some 5 weeks later Nathan wrote about it on his blog. And I only played around 3 games with it, as I was too occupied with the 5 A-Wings. But as you can see in the linked thread, several others picked the list up and reported that it was doing quite well. The metawing 2.0 tells me that it won one hyperspace trial, placed second in another one, and made top 4 in two more, rounded out by four top 8 finishes. Note that the fourth ship was soon switched to Tallie or even Greer. Somehow that fourth ship just didn’t fit as nicely into the list. A-wings want to go faster, the X-wings don’t. On top of that, Lulo is now too expensive. What to do?

Enter the new Resistance Transport Pod! He fits perfectly, and he offers both more solid offense and defense at the cost of a much, oh-so-much worse dial.

But how does it work?

How do I get 4 double modified attacks?

Image made with J1mBob’s squad visualizer: http://infinitearenas.com/xw2view/

Temmin “Snap” Wexley gets a free boost after a fully completed speed 2-4 maneuver. That is already a nice ability, and he is my favorite pilot in the game. I just love free boost actions, even at initiative 4. Snap gets a talent that is widely ridiculed and shunned, Composure. With it, he can intentionally fail his free boost and get a focus for it. Then, for his normal action, he takes the lock action. And that’s it, he has now both dice modifications available and will now put 2.8 damage on the table on average, with a 82% chance for 3 hits, and 99% chance for 2 hits!

The second ship is Jess Pava. She also kept her very good ability from the first edition, but it is now limited to once per turn with a charge token. Jess takes the focus action. All she needs to simulate a full target lock on top are wingmates around her, allowing her to reroll one die for each friendly ship at range 0-1. That also works when she is stressed, and obviously when she bumped. Plus, I give her the BB Astromech. This little guy not only allows her to move out of (or into!) the way of other ships. No, her ability allows her to take the non-recurring charge token from the astromech and spend it for her ability. Not only does she get double modified attack dice, but she can also reroll her greens if she has to! Same numbers for her, 2.8 hits are expected.

The third part is Lieutenant Bastian. The optimistic Analyst has a very nice ability: as soon as a ship at range 1-2 is dealt a damage card, he can acquire (!) a lock on that ship. Now, there are three important parts in here.

First, he can do that several times per turn. Let’s say Snap damages a ship and Bastian acquires a lock. Then Jess finishes that ship off. Finn attacks a second ship and deals a damage card. Now Bastian can acquire again a lock on that second ship. Second, this only works at range 1-2. This is crucial to keep in mind for your initial engagement. But more on that later. And third, he acquires the lock. It is not a lock action, and that allows him to use his ability even while he is stressed! Note that this is now the second ship who gets offensive modifications despite stress.

Ship number four is new. Finn in a transport pod, the ship from Episode VIII. The model is tiny and can only be bought with the resistance transport, where it is attached. But at the same time, he’s also a really Big Deal.

You bet he is!

Let’s go through it slowly. 2 red, 2 green, 3 hull and 1 shield. That is clearly not good on its own. But his ability! It has two parts and works both while defending or attacking. Unfortunately, Finn is not yet in the squadviewer, so I can’t show you the upgrades in the image. My version gets Heroic, Advanced Optics, and Perceptive Co-Pilot. I will go through it one by one. He always does a focus action, giving him 2 focus tokens due to perceptive copilot. Some people stick with Heroic and C-3PO, the budget version. It has merit, but also some problems.

First his ability: He can always add a blank result without drawbacks, or a focus result and gain a strain token. Pretty bad, right? Not really! If he takes the strain while attacking, he will likely be shooting last due to his initiative 2. Then the strain has no consequence and he can move with a blue maneuver to remove it again.

If he takes the strain while defending then you will probably have the Marshall of the event at your table to confirm the interaction. The rules for strain tell you to remove a strain token after you defended. Finn receives the strain while defending. That means he will remove the strain right away. There is no consequence what-so-ever. I expect that FFG will address this in some form, but currently, that is how it works. Let me go through some examples.

When defending, Finn rolls 2 agility dice. In the rare-ish 14% event that he blanks out, he can add a blank and reroll all three with heroic. Then he can spend a focus. I have a hunch that it’s better to reroll them first and add a focus result. But the first way of modifying gives him the possibility to nattie 3 evades, saving the focus for later. If you check the “How to modify” on the dice calculator, you will see that rerolling two and adding a focus is indeed better than adding a blank and rerolling three.
If the other 86% occur then he will have 2 or 3 evades guaranteed: He rolls just once paint, adds a focus result, and spends a token for 2 evades. If he rolls paint twice then gets three evade results. And with perceptive co-pilot he can do that twice per turn! I hear you thinking “but how does that help me in a 3-5 ship meta?”. Just keep in mind that he is i2 and should probably block something. You can also take a calculated risk and eat 1-3 damage if you need the damage output more.

When attacking, Finn rolls 2 attack dice. This is where the fun begins! To make it short: you have to count your focus tokens and decide whether you want to perform a blue maneuver on the next turn. If the answers are “2” and “yes”, then congratulations: you will have 3 hits, with a chance of 99.6%. If the answers are “1” and “yes”, your expected hits drop to 2.59. Answers “2” and “no” give you 2.61, and answers “1” and “no” still 2.16 expected damage.
I will give just one example: let’s say you roll “blank” “focus”. You take a strain to add another focus result for bff. Then you spend 1 focus with optics to change that blank, and another focus to change the two focus results. 3 hits. You can go through all the different rolls yourself, but the numbers are amazing – as long as he has the focus tokens and can take the strain!

Obstacle Choice and Placement

I took the three smallest rocks. Debris is currently a good meta call due to the Jedi and Vader, as it denies the reposition due to the stress. But ultimately you want to have an obstacle-free space, and that makes smaller better. I used my opponent’s obstacles to build jousting lanes or highways. You can see in the image from my second game what that might look like.

Plug for both Nathan and 5050saint for their great articles on that topic.

Very nice of my opponent to enter the obstacle tunnel.
I’m not trapped with him – he is trapped with me!

Tipps and Tricks

Action Choices

As mentioned for each ship: they all take a focus. It’s that simple. Snap will intentionally fail his boost and get the focus from composure to take a lock as normal action – if there is a ship in range. On some rare turns, you might want to roll. And I had it a couple of times that an X-wing boosted to pursue a fast ship like Mace Windu or a fleeing Teroch. But generally: take a focus.

Shooting Order

What is the worst case for Bastian? When he has to fire without a lock! That can happen when he’s too far away. But also when his target just died! Accordingly, you have to choose the right i2 to shoot first. Finn does not care, he can shoot anything with very good results. That will be your decision, and you have to take the right one:

  • If Bastian got his lock from Snap or Jess, then he should shoot as third;
  • If the locked target dies, or only shield damage was dealt so far, then Finn should shoot as third to give Bastian that lock.

Setups and Maneuver Tricks

I set them up in a block on the side. You need to guess whether you will turn to joust, or just go straight. That’s your decision. Accordingly, Bastian and Finn will be placed on the inside to form the new front after a 2 turn, or in the front. There are arguments for placing Bastian or Finn closest to the enemy, the forward-inside position: Bastian needs to be close for his target lock, but Finn likely wants to block something.

If they set up on the left border and will turn right at some point, then Snap should be in the rear left.

One argument for Finn in the front-inside position is that the X-wings have a 3 hard turn. That allows you to fan out your formation! Just make sure that Bastian or Jess on the front-outside position moved one further than Finn. Then you can 3hard with that ship while all others 2hard (image below, left). That is not yet ideal and will have that ship a bit further away. Not good. But what if you roll? That way you gain some distance, a nice position for Bastian (below, middle). Compare that to the standard 2hard for everyone (below, right)

Three ways to turn in your block of death Resistance

Strengths

The damage output is amazing. The entire list has an 89% chance to put 11 hits on the table! That assumes range 2 for Bastian and range 2-3 for the others. If you get a block in for the second round with all range 1 shots, you can expect up to 14 hits with a 94% chance! Of course, that is the ideal case. What if it happened to me already? Because it did. Expect to remove an 8 HP ship per combat phase.

Weaknesses

Quite simple: the list is a block of red dice madness. But it is also extremely susceptible to these things, two each are depending on the opponent or me:

  • blockers
  • high initiative
  • Jess and Snap prefer a tight formation
  • time on target for Finn

Finn just melts away if he does not get his focus tokens. An i1 blocker is all it takes and he is almost instantly gone. 4 HP behind 2 agility is a Z95, but at almost double the cost. He is absolutely worth that and much more, don’t get me wrong, but only while he has his actions.

The other problem is arc-dodging aces. Part of that is me, of course. I have not played low initiative jousters in a long time, not counting the 5A because they play very differently. But a ship like Soontir, Mace, Obiwan, Vader, Guri, and so many others will dodge arcs and evade the one or two shots.

And dodging one arc, unfortunately, dodges a second or even all four! Because Snap and Jess want to stay close to the friendlies. Snap wants to fail his boost, while Jess wants her wingmates for rerolls. That makes it tricky to fan out arcs at the same time, and catching the aces gets so much harder. I think I can (re)learn this part and ameliorate this weakness. If you want to see an example of how not to do it:

We both thought Soontir can’t fit the roll. But he did, and the rest was history.

The X-wings are happy to K-turn or T-roll after the first one or two rounds of combat. But Finn can’t afford to lose his focus. That means his time on target is really bad, as he slowly turns around with his 2 turns. This weakness can be removed by one small adjustment that seems now really obvious: Pattern Analyzer! It will drop the damage output, but in exchange removes one of the key weaknesses.

Conclusion

This list is amazing! All four have crazy damage output. Snap gives you a mobile i4 ship that has ace traits. Finn requires his focus tokens, but then he is a really big deal. I am seriously considering this for my time at the Euros in August. Of course, some more testing is in order, and I have to learn again how to play against aces with relatively immobile ships. The adjustment with pattern analyzer is something I have to consider, but it seems like a logical consequence from my 5 games so far. Speaking of which, I have not played a list like this in a long time. I had so much time to think about other things than my action and maneuver choices. I can only assume that this is what rebel beef feels like, and then I fully understand the allure. It was fun, but I also felt dirty. It’s not right that I can go 4-1 at a system open with a list I have not really played before, even if it is just the hyperspace qualifier.

Stay tuned for the battle reports. Somehow I placed 32nd out of 186 with the 5 A-wings in the main event, and 12th out of 162 in the side event, results that I did not expect. But the battle reports definitely help me improve, and I have a lot of fun with both my lists, which was the defined goal for Euros anyway.

Until next time!

2 thoughts on “List Spotlight: “The Big XXX Deal”

  1. Well done! I look forward to seeing your batreps. The list looks really fun, I want to try it out this week. I have my Madrid SoS batrep almost done, where I take Handbrake Han/Corran for a last spin, I’ll probably post it on the forum

    Like

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