Thank you all for reading my first blog and for the kind comments you posted on various sites. They have spurred me on to write more!
As it came up in the previous blog as a digression too large to cover there and then, I’m going to look at “What should I Fly?” Where to start? Well, Dice saloon has just announced another tournament on the 18th of September, so I’m going to take a similar approach to the last blog. I will base it around choosing what to fly for the tournament, but I will take it from the ground up!
This tournament will be 24 players. Extended. Relaxed Tier. Four (probably) games of Swiss with no top cut. Similar to the last one but with an extra game. Relaxed Tier will probably mean a few more lists that will be a bit more competitive. I’m sure we will see Zam Wessel as crew. Probably a couple of Zam pilots as well. Large scum ships featured heavily in the last tournament, particularly Bossk in the YV-666 and Asajj Ventress in the Lancer. Disciplined imperial mini-swarms popped up a bit too. As did Republic Ani/Obi in the ETA-2 with generic Aethersprites.
So………..I have to ask myself a question or two which will be the starting point for my list choice. Do I want to do well and be competitive? I may well have fun as well, but I run the risk of putting pressure on myself and not having such a good time if things go badly. Do I fly a fun list and not care about how well I do? I’m sure to enjoy the day but will I be thinking ”what if I’d brought a competitive list?” Or do I compromise down the middle and take a decent/better than average list that is still fun to fly and hedge my bets.
There is even the case for sticking with Dash as there is definitely more to the list than what I have got out of it. I feel like I still have some unfinished business with Hera/Dash/Jake! In answer to the above questions, I’d like to be competitive. If you read my last blog, you’ll remember that “I’m an average player with aspirations of making cut in a decent tournament one day”. But I also don’t want to give up on Dash just yet. There are 6 weeks until the tournament, so I will look at building out a few lists and taking a couple of weeks to decide what to fly. Then I’ll practice that list for a month to get ready!
I guess I’m looking for a couple of decent competitive lists that I’m comfortable flying, and a Dash list. Then I can whittle it down to a final list that I can get the reps in with. Let’s start with the dash list as it’s already built and then we can start from scratch with a couple of others. If you recall, the list was Hera (A-Wing), Dash with Bistan, Perceptive Co-Pilot, Trick Shot, and Shield Upgrade, and Jake with Prockets and Marksmanship. 196pts.
After posting my last blog, I was talking to Dylan Jones, (www.dylan-jones.co.uk), a long-time Dash player about the list. He pointed me to Ben Saunders, (www.whattheactualzuck.wordpress.com), who has been flying Dash and recently won a tournament at Firestorm Games with this list:
Dash Rendar (85)
Trick Shot (4)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
False Transponder Codes (2)
Ship Total: 109 Half Points: 55 Threshold: 5
Ahsoka Tano (A-Wing) (49)
Ship Total: 49 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 2
Wedge Antilles (A-Wing) (35)
Ship Total: 41 Half Points: 21 Threshold: 2
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39X133WW77W54WWW369Y463XWWWY452X126WWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=
This intrigues me! It keeps Dash, which is the ship that I built the original list around. It drops Jake and Hera as the support ships and puts in Ahsoka as support and Wedge as a decent stand-alone option. When flying my Hera/Dash/Jake list, both Hera and Jake were support ships. This meant that if I use one as bait, it is hard to keep that ship supporting Dash. Having Wedge in for Jake allows Wedge to be the bait. If they ignore him and go for the others, Wedge can get in behind and actually be a threat. If they chase him, they leave the others to do their thing!
Ahsoka’s ability is range two. Better than Jake and as good as Hera. Seems like a good swap out on both ships. The only thing I’m not so keen on is the 1pt bid. The previous version had a 4pt bid which came out on top a lot of the time. I could drop off the FTC for 197pts, but I feel it could be very useful so I guess it stays for now. That’s the first list done. That was easy! With a little help from my friends.
Some people feel that “net-listing”, (taking an existing list from online or from a game you have seen played), is somehow less valid than building your own list from scratch. Bollox! (Swap for another safer expletive if you want Ben) If you see a list that you think suits your play style, or improves on a variation of your list, or has an efficiency or mechanic you like, give it a go. Other people will be!
Now I’m going to look at the second list. I recently bought an ETA-2 that hasn’t seen any table time yet. That seems like a shame! Ani in the ETA is i6 with three force. Nice. Obi is i5 with three force. Almost as nice! I’ve seen a build doing the rounds with Autoblasters, Marksmanship, and R7-A7 which looks good on both these pilots. But I’ve been waiting a long time to see Yoda in X-Wing so maybe that’s an option.
So now, do I go for an acey three ship list which is my usual style. Or do I mix it up a bit? I think I’m going to mix it up! When Republic first appeared as a faction, I flew a lot of Ani/Obi/Ric Olie so I’ve always liked the Aethersprite. The Delta-7b version adds more shields and an extra attack die. 3 of the Jedi Knights with the 7b config at 49pts each comes in at 147points. That’s too rich to fit the Ani build above in. Even if I drop it to Obi, it’s still 3 points over. Shaak Ti with that build fits and the ability to let a couple of ships keep focus at the end of the round seems nice if they haven’t already spent it. That’s a possibility.
Looking at Yoda’s ability, he’s more of a support ship. Let’s strip everything off him and put patience on instead. 50pts which puts the list at 197pts. Battle Meditation looks really strong too allowing Yoda to purple coordinate two ships for 3 pts. No bid! But then they are all i3 pilots so no great loss there. Yoda can recharge the Aethersprites and use patience if he gets too low on force himself. Looking good. If I want a bid, I can drop Battle Meditation but let’s see how the practice games pan out. List 2 is: Jedi Knight (37)
Ship Total: 49 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 3
Jedi Knight (37)
Ship Total: 49 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 3
Jedi Knight (37)
Ship Total: 49 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 3
Battle Meditation (3)
Jamming Beam (0)
Ship Total: 53 Half Points: 27 Threshold: 2
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Republic&d=v8ZsZ200Z277XWW201WY277XWW201WY277XWW201WY437X212W342W12WW&sn=Yoda%2F3x7bJedi&obs=
For lists 1 and 2, I have tweaked an old list with some external help and built a list around a single ship I want to fly. So for list 3, let’s start with a faction and a style. My first two lists are Republic and Rebel. Let’s look at the others for variety. I’m ruling out First Order, as I got rid of all my ships. I didn’t like the last three films at all. In fact, they made me long for the prequel trilogy, (yes, even Jar-Jar), which I wasn’t such a big fan of either! I do play resistance as they have plenty of carry-over characters from the “middle” trilogy.
Do I take Resistance? I’ve flown “Death Rey” at a couple of tournaments in the past with various wingmen and done ok so I think I will skip resistance this time. I have a couple of ideas flying around for a separatist list, but it’s been ages since I’ve flown them and I’m still waiting for backorders on my firespray and HMP gunships. I guess CIS will have to wait a bit longer.
That leaves Scum and Imperials, the two factions that I started out playing when I got into X-Wing. If I’m flying Scum for an event, I usually go to Boba Fett in the firespray and I love flying Boba/Guri or Boba/Fen. But with all the big base ships out there, I’m not sure a two-ship list is the best idea. Let’s come back to Scum if I can’t find an Imperial list I like. I think Imps are my favourite faction! They have such a range of ships and pilots that suit my style of play. Three ship Acey lists are my thing and there’s plenty of choice with the Empire.
My Rebel list relies on ships supporting Dash and the Republic one is similar in that Yoda is supporting the Jedi Knights. In this list, I think I am going to look at three ships that can hold their own individually. This gives me the option to use anyone as bait while the other two do the damage. Then switch it up and change who the bait is.
So I’m looking for three good stand-alone ships or pilots. We are lucky enough down at Dice Saloon to have Oli Pocknell as a regular opponent. It’s good to have a post-game debrief with the world champion after playing and something he once said to me about list building has stuck with me. Take the ship you want to fly and decide what makes it good. The chassis? The pilot? What are the minimum upgrades it needs to be a good ship? Don’t load up with luxury upgrades. Start with the bare minimum that makes the ship good, (the “Built” series of articles that Ben has on this site are an excellent starting point for this). Then move on to the next ship.
Sometimes this allows room for an extra ship in a list. Or at least starts you off with a bigger bid. If you then decide to add the extra upgrades, you have not compromised the list early on in the process. I love the phantom. Vader, Defender, or X-1. Tie V-1. Redline or Deathrain. Defenders. Interceptors. Strikers. Decimator. All good ship chassis or good with certain pilots. I’m going to throw in Vynder in the Star-Wing as it’s possibly my most favourite ship in the game.
However scary Vynder as a missile boat is, she is only able to self-mod a focus or a lock. Not both. And if using advanced slam, it’s a red action. I always feel that Vynder needs a helping hand and I’m looking at true stand-alone ships for this build. I’ve wanted to try out Vader in the Defender for a while. His cost of 115 points makes it hard to find good cheap enough wingmen and that usually means a 2 ship list.
I’m not a fan of two ship lists at tournaments as they have much less margin for error. It has to be flown perfectly for the whole event and I don’t think I’m consistent enough yet. What other ships are good and cheap enough to fit in with defender Vader? Probably only the V-1. Fifth Brother and Seventh Sister both naked add up to 85pts. That fits and has appeal, but maybe more of a fun list than a tournament list. So I’ll save defender Vader for casual nights at the store.
Phantoms. Love them! Whisper and Echo are go-to ships for me. Whisper has the opportunity for focus and 2 evades each turn. Evade from the de-cloak, focus for an action, and 2nd evade from scoring a hit. Echo! On the other hand, forfeits the extra evade to be more maneuverable while de-cloaking. Having played a lot of Echo recently, I love the fact that my opponent has to guess where she is going to be. Also, Echo is 9 points cheaper than Whisper!
What is the minimum Echo needs to be good? A lock action. Passive sensors or targeting computer. Passive sensors are 2 points and at i4 is probably more useful to lock after the i5s and i6s have moved. If Echo is using passive sensors as her action, then she won’t be taking focus so a way to mod either attack or defense is needed. Especially for defense as she only rolls 2 green dice. (Yes she has a free evade most turns from the de-cloak, but she wants to save that to spend to cloak in the end phase). Force would be good for this.
So how do I get a force user with this ship? It’s got to be Fifth Brother gunner. Echo can save the force for a defensive mod, or, if not getting shot, use it to mod a focus to a crit on attack. We could then look at other upgrades. Juke. Lone Wolf. Outmaneuver. Shield Upgrade. Stealth device. All good choices but all luxuries. I can argue that Fifth Brother is bordering on luxury but I think it stays for now. Ship 1: Echo with Passive Sensors and Fifth Brother. 65pts.. Next ship. Another Phantom? Why not? What would a whisper build cost? Again! I want a lock action. Passive Sensors is 4 points on Whisper and I’m thinking about using the sensor slot for something else. So let’s go with Targeting Computer.
I want Collision Detector to give Whisper some extra flexibility. How about something to help in attack? Let’s go with Juke. Ship 2: Whisper with Targeting Computer, Collision Detector, and Juke. 76pts I’m looking at this and thinking that X-1 Vader with Fire Control System and Afterburners, (the standard minimum Vader build), is 75pts. Which is better? Vader is i6, hits like a truck and I know the ship well. But he has a notorious habit of blanking out and dying. Probably no more than Whisper, but he is more often in worse positions trying to maximise his damage potential, so it feels like more often. But at 1 point difference, either is a viable option in the list. Ship two: Whisper with Targeting Computer, Collision Detector, and Juke. 76pts
Or: X-1 Vader with FCS and Afterburners. 75pts That’s 141 or 142pts. Leaving me 58pts to play with for ship three. A decent amount of points but not loads. I don’t really want to fly a Decimator or Punisher. With zero and one green dice respectively, they become big targets and melt quickly. Also, I probably don’t have enough points for a decent build. So we’ve got Tie V-1s, Tie Interceptors, and Tie Strikers left from my list above. All cheap enough. All with good options. I’m going to look at each. Strikers: If I’m going for the stand-alone “ace”, I’m probably looking at Duchess. She is 44pts. A 3 dice, i5 gun, but with only two agility.
If I am bringing one or two phantoms with only two green dice, I’d like the 3rd ship to be a little more survivable. I do like the option of a cheap bomb for area denial, but I think we look elsewhere for the third ship. Interceptors: Soontir Fel is 54pts. Add predator and it’s 56pts bringing the list to 197pts. Who wouldn’t want the “Ace of Legend” for that price? Well, someone who isn’t very good at flying Soontir! I always get too aggressive with Soontir and put him in positions that make him go pop! Gideon Hask is an option from the new batch of interceptor pilots.
I haven’t got my Skystrike Academy pack yet as it is still on order, so I would have to borrow the card from a fellow Bandit. I like the idea of throwing 4 dice at a damaged target. Targeting Computer for the lock action and predator for the re-roll would be 53pts putting the list at 194pts. That’s a nice bid too.
I like Turr Phennir! Being able to boost into range 1 of an opponent, shoot them in the face and then barrel roll out of arc is always hilarious. Tag on Daredevil, (‘cos he can still barrel roll after a red hard 1 boost), and Afterburners and he sits at 49pts, with the list at 190. I could fit Juke on Echo for a 197pt list. Taking Turr as a cheaper option might help boost Echo as more of a threat. I think if I’m going to go with an interceptor, it will be Turr.
TIE Advanced V-1: Normally, I would go straight to Fifth Brother as my first choice. He’s cheap and hits hard, especially with Passive Sensors and Homing Missiles. But he is the gunner option on Echo so I can’t use him again in the list. I don’t find Seventh Sister as good as 5th Bro! So I’ll skip her for now and look at The Grand Inquisitor. He’s i5, with three green dice. He regularly throws three red dice with his pilot ability and can also focus or evade with force. It’s a great ship and he doesn’t need anything else to make him good at only 52 points. That’s 193 with him in the list. I could still put Juke on Echo if I didn’t want a bid (or Outmanoeuvre).
The list is nearly there: Echo Whisper or Vader Turr or Grand Inquisitor At this point it comes down to what I am most comfortable flying, what I think will be more competitive, and what I will enjoy most. There have been quite a few times I have flown a list with 1 phantom in and my opponents always dislike flying against it. I really like the idea of doubling up the phantoms. It means losing out on Vader’s i6 and hitting power, but if I can get Juke on both the phantoms, it might help up the consistency a bit. Grand Inquisitor puts the list at 200pts. I like how tanky he can be, so I’m going to go with him as the third ship. If I drop Juke to Outmanoeuvre on Echo I can get the list to 199pts. So the final version of list three is:
Passive Sensors (2)
Fifth Brother (12)
Ship Total: 71 Half Points: 36 Threshold: 3
Collision Detector (6)
Targeting Computer (3)
Ship Total: 76 Half Points: 38 Threshold: 3
Grand Inquisitor (52)
Ship Total: 52 Half Points: 26 Threshold: 2
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v8ZsZ200Z200X126W240W82WY199X123W112WW249Y169XWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=
I’ve looked at putting together three lists from three different starting points and a good bit of sage advice from a world champion. I’ve even borrowed a list from someone who knows Dash better than I do. There’s no “right” or “proper” way to list build. As long as you end up with a legal list that you think you will enjoy flying, then go for it.
There are several resources to help you with list building. I use the Launch Bay Next app, by Andre Lind on my phone. I use Yet Another Squad Builder 2 on my laptop and for printing lists out for events. Sometimes I even use the official X-wing Squad Builder app, (Shock! Horror!) to store “completed” lists that I want to come back to and use again and again. The most important resource I use though is the people I play against at the store and online. listen to the advice and possibilities suggested by your opponents and club members. They may just give you that one bit of advice that makes your list that bit better or changes the way you approach building lists.
As it turns out, I won’t be getting any games in before the 22nd of August due to work and family commitments, which only gives me a month to test and practice these lists. So I may arbitrarily cut it down to two lists before I get to a table to speed up the selection process. I’ll keep you posted with some updates and battle reports as we progress to tournament day.
Thanks again, Jamie!