Hi, my name is still Matija, but most prefer Mojito at this point. I still suffer from a fixation on efficiency, unrequited love of spreadsheets, and an annoying competitive streak. I am writing this after winning the Sith Takers Open and as a person who will never let a good soapbox go to waste, I have decided to use this opportunity to talk about an archetype that I have played with for almost two years. While the previous article focused on Resistance Triple Aces, this one will focus on Resistance Beef, roughly speaking four to five ships focused on taking and giving out damage above all else. But first, we need to set the scene.
It is July 2019 and I am sitting in a large conference room in the middle of Paris, having just finished my first ever System Open with a 2:4 record to my name using Rebel Triple Aces. The list did not work as intended, and as I switch my focus to the Sunday Hyperspace Trial I realize I have no idea what I should use. Sitting in a corner, browsing my phone looking for inspiration, I come across an idea that has been bouncing around in my head for a while. As fate would have it someone else is planning to bring the same list to Sunday as well. Here is a great write-up about The Big Deal and the birth of the idea about Resistance being a faction defined by efficiency.
The Big Deal would get banned almost immediately, first Finn would get fixed and the endless Strain removal was no more, and then Composure would get changed to prevent intentionally failing the boost on Snap, but the genie was already out of the bottle at that point. To quickly run through the evolution:
- 2019 Italian Grand Championship: After Finn got banned, Cova got rotated in, unfortunately no stream but the idea was pretty much Big Deal 2.0
- 2020 UK System Open: Kazuda replaces Snap with the release of the Fireball, Cova got cheap enough for Leia to be added (stream)
- 2020 Coruscant Invitational: Finn and Rose replace Cova, bumping the list up to 5 ships, R6-D8 is released replacing Bastian (Mazzi stream since he’s the best at it)
- 2021 Battle For Alderaan Invitational: Commander Poe drops enough in points to replace Finn and Rose, reverting to 4 ships (stream)
What this prolonged Ship of Theseus metaphor is trying to show is that this is a list that spent a long time changing to get where it is now. Let us then compare the original Big Deal to the final Commander-In-Chaff and how the final four pilots solve problems that could not be solved by the original four.
57: Poe Dameron (HoH) (55), Heroic (2), Jamming Beam (0), Integrated S-foils (0)
51: Jessica Pava (51), Integrated S-foils (0)
47: Red Squadron Expert (43), R6-D8 (4), Integrated S-foils(0)
45: New Republic Patrol (32), Ion Cannon Turret (5), Wartime Loadout (4), Electro-Chaff Missiles (4)
Obstacles: Two smallest rocks, the smallest debris (this should be three smallest rocks but I lost the smallest rock somewhere and I am too lazy to replace it.)
Poe Dameron (Dollar Store Poe)
What a difference a subtitle and some aggressive point drops make. When Commander Poe was released he was met with widespread indifference, largely overshadowed by the Overdrive Thruster card which made Fly Boy Poe such a great ace. The difficulty of fitting Fly Boy Poe in any 4 ship build is that he is just a couple of points too expensive to fit three fully upgraded ships. Believe me, I tried, here’s a stream of the final version before giving up.
That being said, some kind of Poe is essential to finally make the list work, for the same reason Wedge has remained consistently in all Rebel jousting lists since the beginning. You need an initiative 6 pilot to handle the opponent’s aces. There are two things that all versions of this list have struggled with, those being swarms and well flown triple aces. With the Big Deal having a 4322 Initiative spread any kind of dedicated ace will move after them. Poe is a great answer to the ace part of the game. There’s a very real joy to walking up to Supernatural Kylo and watching him have all 36 of his movement options and exactly zero of them will not result in taking a double modded shot from Poe.
Actual image of Poe versus Supernatural Kylo
In addition to answering the ace question, I think his ability is underrated, especially in a list already overflowing with the ability to modify its attack dice. Poe’s ability increases reposition options without any of the other ships sacrificing their offense. A couple of options available are Boost Focus, Boost Barrel Roll, and Focus Rotate. The ability to have both the T-65 and T-70 S-foils on demand cannot be overstated. Suddenly that Jess shot is coming from range 1 instead of range 2 and that Ion Cannon Turret now always has a Focus token even on the turns it needs to rotate to keep its guns on the target.
Finally, I would like to talk about Heroic and how we are all irrational creatures, regardless of if we are willing to admit that or not. Heroic at 2 points is not worth it from a mathematical point of view, but it’s worth it if it changes the way you fly. For me, it’s a safety blanket, a guarantee that I will not have a bad dice day, which affects how I fly Poe. To get the most out of him he cannot afford to stay away from the fight but has to be in the fray helping friends and initiative killing people. Without Heroic there would always be that thought of “what if I blank out to a random shot” in the back of my mind which would keep him back a little. It’s not about how much I use it, it’s the potential that I can use it when I need it the most that provides value.
Jessica Pava (The Great Destroyer (of Self))
To all astute readers out there, yes Jess is the only pilot that started this journey and made it to the end so there’s not much to talk about other than what she does best and that is dying a fiery death. For most lists out there losing ships is a thing to avoid, or at least not something you should actively plan for, well that’s a privilege this list does not have. Any list whose game plan revolves around trading shots will lose ships, and once you realize that there’s a lot you can do to affect which ships you want to lose. Enter Jess.
Her ability is at its best when she has friends around and normally the most friends you have are at the start of the game, which means the longer the game lasts the worse she will get. Jess reaching the end game alone is now a generic initiative 3 X-Wing that is paying 8 points for the privilege of a sweet character photo.
Sweet sweet photo.
What this all means is that you get to use her with reckless abandon. Let her lead the charge, park her in front of everyone, truly see how many Proton Torpedo shots she can take to the face, YOLO it up like there’s no tomorrow. She is still a T-70 which can re-roll defense dice, has a lot of health to crack and the best part of it is she is trading shots at the part of the game where her ability is at full potential. A game where I lose Jess is a game I am confident is going my way, as long as I take something off the board from my opponents as well. If you send her alone and unsupported just because you read here she needs to die, then your mileage may vary.
Red Squadron Expert (Ass Rot)
What started with Lieutenant Bastian ended with Red Squadron Expert with R6-D8 and while that does not look like a big change, it does touch on a lot of underlying ideas of what this list wants to do. The 3rd spot has always been the Jess Lite spot, a sturdy ship that has a way of acquiring passive mods and it’s just there to trade shots and be consistent during the entire game, compared to Jess who shines at the beginning. The interesting thing about this spot is that there is now a three-way debate between Red, Bastian, and Nimi. At the end of the day, Red wins due to being the only one whose ability is fully under your control which is a good micro example of the list at large.
Bless you Germany
Yes, both Nimi and Bastian have potentially better abilities that will yield better effects in some games, but there will be games where they are just a generic X-Wing sitting there being upset, while Red is lining up bullseyes in a steady if unspectacular fashion. And if there ever was a motto for this list that is Steady If Unspectacular. Every moving part of this list was designed to consistently do well, every upgrade is there to smooth out the rough edges, to even out the bad games, to introduce a floor to how bad you can mess it up. The problem with artificially creating a floor for a list is that you tend to smooth things enough to introduce a ceiling as well. A list that cannot perform badly tends to be a list that cannot perform great unless there was a massive screw-up in points like the Six Nantex list. So how do you round out a list that was built on the premise of being consistent? By introducing the Little Turret That Could.
New Republic Patrol (The Little Turret That Could)
We established that this is a consistent list, we established that it’s a list that is weak to aces and weak to swarms, we established that Poe helps against aces and we established that it’s a list that will get shot a lot. So in an ideal world, the last ship should be a ship that can take a lot of shots and help against swarms while still keeping in line with what the list wants to do. If only we could do that.
An unrelated picture of a Segway
Turns out 9 health is a lot of health, especially in a target-rich environment. It introduces a very real choice of target priority. Do you ignore The Little Turret That Could, risking taking Ion shots that can be double modded on demand, or do you remove it, risking taking too much time doing that and freeing up the other ships to perform? An additional issue is that the Chaff Missile is a ticking time bomb as well, if you choose to ignore it completely it will cause problems once you start jousting.
There are very few upgrades that swing a game while being so cheap as much as The Chaff Missile does versus swarms. The great thing about the Beef versus Swarms game is that it’s fairly predictable. Both lists like to joust and meet in the middle and both lists don’t have a plan B, which means that, while positioning is always important and will win games, sooner or later the two lists will line up and start shooting at each other. What the Chaff Missile does is present an obstacle blocking the opponent’s movement, giving you the option of approaching the swarm during the crucial first engagement with more mods than they have. This tends to snowball into bigger problems for them as the initial damage difference adds up.
The drawback of using the Y-Wing is that it cannot contribute to the damage race as much as the other three ships, having only 2 red dice and a maximum of 1 damage available, if using the Ion Cannon, but the help it gives in control more than makes up for the lack of offense. Past iterations of the list all focused on having the absolute maximum number of offense to win the game through sheer attrition, and looking back now I think that was what kept the archetype back.
At a certain point of efficiency, you start hitting the point of diminishing returns, and adding more and more layers only makes sure you will abuse some games without helping you deal with problems that you will struggle with. The inclusion of the Y-Wing goes a long way to help solve those problems.
There you have it, a Resistance list that won a large-ish tournament, and in true Resistance fashion the entire list will probably have to change from the ground up once 2.5 rule-set drops and we are living in an objective-driven world where we can not just go one forward in a block. It’s been a blast observing the list evolve through the use of different people and seeing how each person puts a different spin on the same general idea and hopefully this trend continues with the new rules.