This short post is to help estimating bullseye arcs a bit better. Maybe you play a T-70 and want to close the S-foils, maybe you are enamored with proton rockets on an A-Wing, or maybe you like Nantex and the upcoming ETA-2 interceptor who both rely a lot on their special bullseye arc. There are many reasons why improving your bullseye estimation can be a good idea, like crackshot and predator talent upgrades, or an HLC cannon. I will show some simple facts I was not aware of myself, and a trick or two to sharpen your guess.
My personal motivation is mainly for ships that have a (free) boost action, like A-Wings, Interceptors, and CLT-Jedi. But I will have a suspiciously large amount with barrel rolls where I ignore the ability to boost. That is specifically for T-70s with their linked roll. They have to land their bullseye or pay with a red die for it. That’s a large price for a simple player mistake. I will tacitly assume that you aim at an opponent that won’t move anymore. But even if that is not the case, hopefully these pictures will still help you to cover the area that you want.
Before we start, it is absolutely key to understand the importance of angles. Landing the bullseye is not easy because a bullseye arc is almost exactly a third of a base*. Facing off with an opponent, it is easy to miss the arc as that is the narrowest front you can have. The widest front is the 45° angle. Basic math tells us that the presented front will be 1.41 x 4cm or 5.64 cm wide. See on the left.
*More precisely, a bullseye is 1.5cm compared to the 4cm width of a ship base. Technically, that is 0.375 of a base width. But the difference is not even 2mm and almost the wiggle room you have on a table. So I will pretend it is a third and leave it at that.
First I want to start with banks, shown on the right. You should notice how the three bullseyes of the three bank maneuvers line up pretty much perfectly next to each other. There is no position for an enemy ship where a 1bank doesn’t hit but a 2bank does – unless the other direction, where you should have chosen a 3bank anyway. The key take-away is that you should always decide on the more extreme bank if you are not sure. The second point here is that you can imagine a line along the left corner of your ship, shown by the range ruler, and the 1bank bullseye will start almost exactly next to that.
Maybe a third point that could help: the bullseyes cover a bit more than a ship width. Combine that with the line-trick and you should be able to decide whether the shorter or longer bank is the better one to gain bullseye on your target. Because remember, you don’t need the 2bank for that.
But there is a second way to do “banks”! You can move straight and then boost in. If you do that, the bullseyes will look like this on the left. Remember the earlier point of a ship width? The space between the 1straight and 3 straight maneuver is almost exactly a ship wide (if it has the same angle). That means it is possible but very unlikely that you miss a ship in there – and as a consequence the same rule of thumb applies: skip the middle one. Only, this time you have many “middle ones”… You could do any speed from a 1 to 5 straight, followed by a boost. But there’s a solution for that problem. If you want to stay closer, then simply take the 1bank. And then increase the gap by a ship size. So, next is 1 straight + boost, then 3 straight + boost, and finally 5 straight + boost. Maybe your dial does not offer these maneuvers. For example, an A-Wing would have to follow the sequence of 2 bank, 3 bank, 2 straight + boost, 4 straight + boost, 5 straight + boost. The images below try to show what exactly I mean by that. Particularly the A-Wing has two “inefficient” maneuvers for best bullseye coverage. The 2 bank and 5 straight+boost are necessary to cover a close or far opponent, and the other three are necessary due to the limited dial. The ideal ship for bullseye is accordingly one with 1 banks and 1, 3 and 5 straights on its dial, coupled with a free boost.
Tivia side note: Ships with this capability are the E-Wing, the x1 Advanced TIE, the N-1 Naboo Starfighter and the TIE /sf.
Maybe you can’t or don’t want to boost. Particularly T-70 X-Wings possibly prefer to take a focus and roll instead of boosting. On the plus side, you can cover more ground that way. On the down side, the gaps between arcs are of course larger. The gap for a roll adds up to 2x bullseye arcs (2/3 base) plus the rolled base, so 1.66 bases (technically 1.75, or 3.6mm more than 5/3rds). That is more than the width presented by a ship at a 45° angle to yours. But not much more, and you have to be rather unlucky to have a ship exactly in there. The gallery below shows you the rolls for the 3 different banks. Remember, you normally don’t want to do a 2bank anyway to land a bullseye. That makes the third picture the most important one.
Note: It is amazing that you can now cover a width of 5 ship bases! That is a huge bullseye arc. All you need is the correct maneuver and the correct reposition.
T-70s are really fun with BB-Astromechs. How does that alter the equation? Definitely makes it more complicated! Important to notice that a T-70 is no Kylo Ren with precognitive reflexes – BB can only happen on blue maneuvers, and the 3bank is white unlike the others. The first picture in the gallery shows you the difference for forward/backward rolls. Also in the picture is a 1bank + roll right – which covers a will bullseye width further to the side than the premove roll + bank! The second picture shows us not much except a funny factoid: the left roll + 1bank has the exact same bullseye as a 1 straight+1boost. That small bit could be handy for fancy formation flying, but the main importance here is simple: a BB-roll with a 1bank leaves your ship with an action for mods. A boost does not.
The more important picture is the one on the right. It shows all reasonable bullseye arcs with the two blue banks, 1 or 2, and the white 3 bank. I tried to make it easier by color coding them, so let’s go through them one by one. Two ships are marked blue. The central one did a 1bank, the other one rolled to the right after the maneuver. It covers the furthest right distance possible. White is a 3bank in the middle, and a 3bank with a roll left after moving, all to the top to cover the furtest left distance. These two lead to this amazing bullseye spread of 5 ship lengths! It leaves two large gaps, but those are easily covered with the help of BB. The yellow rolled left before moving with a 1 or 2 bank. Red does the same but rolling to the right before moving. You can see again that it really does not matter for bullseye coverage. You should base the choice on two factors: 1) How close do you want to get to your target? This one is straight-forward, take the faster or slower if you want to be more or less close.
2) In which direction do you expect to misjudge your arc? Take the slower one if your bullseye is always a bit too much to the left, take the faster if it’s too far to the right.
Maybe you want to bank first in one and then in the other direction to slide sideways. Interestingly enough, 1 bank right-left and barrel roll right covers almost the exact same bullseye spot! That is another thing I was definitely not aware of myself. The distance covered forward is by the way like a 3.5 straight which you can see with the firing arc ranges. The width is again the previously mentioned 1.75 bases for the barrel roll, and slightly less for the double-bank (but still enough to just so fit a ship at a 45° angle).
I thought this was a neat one that I had no idea about, but I wonder if anyone will ever use this knowledge.
For completion’s sake I also show turns and sloops+talons. Turns are nothing to scoff at with their wide coverage!
You should be able to guess where a ship ends up after one. I also considered the 1-3bank + boost as a wider turn for the first image below but left them away for the other one. Note that 2 and 3 turns with the option to roll cover again a wide channel of 5 ship widths, without any hiding spot for an enemy. The gap may seem wide, but it’s really just smaller than a ship width.
A 3 turn and rolling back towards the place of origin (here: right) almost lines up the bullseye with your previous front edge, so you could use that to aim your bullseye. Doing the same with the 2hard lands your bullseye very close to the mid-ship marking, so again you can use that to aim.
The other final positions are a bit harder to really aim, but hopefully mindful practice will help.
The last bit are on sloops and talon rolls. All I want to say here is that you can aim them by visualizing a normal bank or turn. The ship edge or midship marking would then allow you to estimate the final bullseye arc position. If that is as difficult for you as it is for me, I might have found a small trick. Maybe you are like me and visualizing a barrel roll or decloak is easier.
As it turns out, the 2 sloop and 2 talon perfectly aim through a ship that rolled 1 to the side. It is not quite as perfectly the middle if we increase to 3 talons and 3 sloops, but that is even better: you have to move 2 lengths to the side instread of 1,5, which should be easier!
My own lessons from this are that much is up to me and my maneuver choice, but also that I can influence quite a bit with my reposition actions. A boost is generally more valuable to adjust the angle, but it is the barrel roll that is the best friend of the bullseye arc. That immediately means to me and my stated motivation that T-70s with closed s-foils are easier than A-wings with proton rockets. Better than both are probably Jedi doing both – or a pilot like Soontir Fel who gets an extra reward for being correct. Whatever the pilot, all I need is the correct maneuver choice to cover a massive fire corridor of 5 ship widths!
The next take-away is to skip certain maneuvers if you focus on bullseye. There is no reason to do a 2bank – figure out which side is better and go for that one with a 1 or 3 bank.
And the third point: premaneuver-repositioning is really awesome to aim your bullseye.