I think my favorite build right out of the box is a double Aggressor list. I’ve heard horrible things about how they’ve been doing in Vassal tournaments that could care less about shipping delays, but I haven’t seen any lists reported that are “doing it right”, so to say. Allow me to make the following suggestion of a build.
For those of you who haven’t read up on the IG-2000 / Aggressor, there’s four different versions of IG-88 that, assuming you take the free IG-2000 title on the ship, share the pilot abilities of all the others in your list. In a 100 point game, you can only fit two of the four, but that leaves you with plenty of room for upgrades.
The Aggressor’s dial is wide open and generous, boasting the new S-turn, a K-turn, and lots of green maneuvers. Pair that up with the native Boost (+ free evade from IG88-C), Expert Handling’s Barrel Roll (+ ditching a target lock), Advanced Sensors, and the new Inertial Dampeners upgrade that lets you choose to cancel your maneuver once per game, and these Aggressor go wherever you want them to go. Period.
But where do they go? Well, first, they slide into long range, and disable an enemy ship via their Ion Cannons, then they lunge in for the kill with uncancle-able Autoblaster shots once they know where that target will be. Both of those shots get the added benefit of second chance attacks from IG88-B’s pilot ability, which means you’ll very seldom miss your mark.
The list will have some weaknesses. Specifically, high(er) PS ships with a lot of maneuvering actions (like Dash Rendar) will be hard to pin in for Autoblaster shots even once ionized. And a well-flown swarm will make you second guess your maneuver options, but there should be plenty of chances to adjust with all the extra little abilities that are inserted for maneuvers.
Next up is less teamwork, more “every pilot for themselves”.
Drea Renthal is the ultimate angry Y-Wing. Shooting twice per turn with the BTL-A4 title, and taking and spending four target locks (and four stress) per turn thanks to the combo of Drea’s pilot ability and R4-B11, something in particular stays put and gets pinged away at until it dies, or Drea does. If you get lucky, you might get to switch your target lock when you finish your victim. Otherwise, don’t expect any form of action again.
N’Dru Suhlak is a cheap X-Wing so long as you keep him away from his “squadmates”, but he also gets to pick on something with low evasion using his Cluster Missiles. Assuming no extra damage from critical hits, he can strip half the health of a Decimator with a single attack, as his pilot ability adds an extra die to both attack rolls!
Last, but not least, is Kath Scarlet. Kath’s special ability is getting extra dice when firing from her rear arc, which makes for 4 die primary attacks. To make her a little on the dodgy side, Veteran Instincts bumps her up to pilot skill 9, letting her see the field when picking a Boost to aim that shot, and she can pick up free target locks as needed with the K4 Security Droid.
In this set-up, everyone’s doing something completely different – picking on a small ship, picking on a big ship, and running away while blasting something. There’s certainly a risk of one piece getting isolated from the others, but that’s a known risk when flying “loner” style ships.
I’m working on a swarm list, but I can’t figure out the right combo of Z-95’s and M3-A’s yet. I want to use the Starviper, because it’s a beautiful model, but it just doesn’t fit right with anything else.
What else do I have cooking up? I can’t give away all the secrets, but I suppose I could show off some the ingredients…
Here’s to hoping you all get your hands on your copies of the Scum and Villainy ships soon, and I look forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with!
Captain’s Log: Star Date 13 (I’m REALLY not good at counting); After last month’s meeting engagements, reinforcements have arrived for all involved and all fleets are back to 200 point combat ratings. The contested area is shrinking, and the coming battles are sure to be bloodier than the previous fights.
The local Star Trek: Attack Wing community appeared to really enjoy opening up the floodgates and bringing 200 point fleets last month. Accordingly, that same setup was used again this month, but without the special flagship rules and on a standard sized map, so it was simply 200 vs 200, with up to 20 points to spend on any combination of resources.
Having gone through my collection during my recent move (one of several reasons for my posting hiatus), I was able to locate ships that I couldn’t find before, and I updated my list accordingly, removing the Federation ships, and slipping in one more ship for a few less upgrades.
Kazon Predator Class – 24 (RiF blind boosters)
Kira Nerys – 4 (Dominion War OP6 Prize)
Kazon Predator Class – 24 (RiF blind boosters)
Individually, there’s nothing particularly exciting or powerful in the list. But it’s effective as a group. The whole team can methodically roll forward in tandem, the dials are near identical across the fleet. There are multiple effects in play that boost all the other ships in the fleet. +1 attack die at range 2-3 from the flagship, +1 attack die from Donatra, +1 defense die from Terrell, and Kira Nerys Space Oprah does her thing too (“You get a target lock! And you get a target lock! You all get target locks!!!”). Every ship in the fleet can take a beating, the most lightly defended ship in the fleet has 8 hit points and 1 defense die (the D’Kyr class with Terrell on it), but it’s not an obvious target as it has the lowest damage output of any ship in the fleet (action economy plans aside), and it’s tied for second lowest point value in the fleet.
When it comes to offense, all seven ships in the fleet have at least six attack dice on the opening rounds of engagement. Kira/Oprah’s Predator most likely rolls an unmodified attack, but the remainder of the fleet stacks a Target Lock and a Battlestations action together to put those dice to maximum effect. And to top it all off, it’s hard to outmaneuver the group, as all of the ships have 180 degree firing arcs.
List Commentary: Well, this looked nasty. I haven’t played much recently, so this would be my first match against the Alpha Hunter, and I knew in the back of my mind what the Monotanium Armor Plating did, but I didn’t realize how effective it would turn out to be during the match.
Battle: Space Oprah (Kira Nerys, for those who skipped ahead and missed that reference) got really shut down in this match, as Monotanium Armor Plating and a hefty dose of cloaking denied me a lot of target locks. But when you make a cloaked ship throw enough dice, eventually it’s bound to fail spectacularly, as I’ve learned first hand many a time. End result was a solid win. I believe I lost one ship in the closing moments, but I managed a near wipe of the enemy fleet, with only the Bioship surviving. We said it survived at least, either a critical hit was applied by mistake with shields still available, or shield tokens were left on the ship’s card after being damaged.
List Commentary: Another build that looks like it could be trouble. Those fighters can pump out a lot of damage if left unchecked, but luckily I have lots of shots available. It’s refreshing to see faction pure showing up at times, and I don’t really feel like this player was “missing” anything by not crossing factions. From what I gathered, my opponent was relatively new to the game, and that makes him a potential force to be reckoned with in future games with this group.
Battle: I missed a few photos that I wish I had taken, because the next turn was tricky and I had to really scramble a bit. I slid forward and had Space Oprah hand out a stack of target locks onto the Enterprise E, but to my great surprise both the Enterprise-E and Voyager took advantage of their speed and 360 degree firing arcs to zoom straight past my formation. This gave the enemy got some unopposed shots out of the deal there, leaving me nothing but fighters to pick on. I followed up on this by turning the entire formation hard right, loading up on aux tokens, but I still had target locks for days, and I found myself outside of the Voyager’s range, which meant this exchange was very much slanted in my favor.
Soon after clearing the E, time was called on what was a tough game to be facing a relative newbie. This is especially notable because I feel like I got lucky killing that last ship, and we played 50 minute rounds, which is really short considering these fleets are roughly double the normal size. When we finished, he had a decent position behind me, and had destroyed my Suurok class flagship and one of my D’Kyr already. He would have taken damage from the mines to chase me, but there wasn’t a lot I could have done to force shots on the Voyager for quite some time. With more time in the match, that would have been a lot closer of a finish.
List Commentary: This may not be the exact loadout, but it’s pretty close. My opponent had consulted me for my opinion on this list as written and a couple of alternatives prior to the event, and this was definitely the one that I didn’t want to face. The Scimitar looks all big and mean, but the Valdores are just as dangerous, if not more so.
Battle: This was to be far and away the toughest match of the day, and I wasn’t surprised in the least. My Vulcan / Kazon alliance lacks a lot of ability to react to my opponent’s moves, so the general plan is as follows: If there are enemies in front of me, float the group forward, shoot everything at something in range. If there’s nothing in front of me, say a prayer and start listing lazily to one side in search of target.
There’s not a lot of room in that plan for adjusting for highly maneuverable ships that can escape my forward arc, and there’s certainly very little ability to dodge mine fields, which is a big problem – 7 ships, 3 dice each… a single well placed set of cloaked mines will get 21 unopposed attack dice per turn, close to the damage output of some fleets at this scale, and for a mere 2% of the cost of said fleet.
To make matters worse, there’s still another 96% of the fleet to deal with. Namely, there’s a lot of action economy running around, translating into 3 attacks per turn that are all but guaranteed 5-6 damage to land home, and they’re all firing before any of my stuff. Then you can top it all off with the fact that the Jammed Communications upgrade is designed to temporarily cripple fleets just like mine, and it all looks to make for a bad day.
My solution? Slowing down to an average of a 0.5 forward movement as soon as those mines started hitting the field. With a 1-forward or 1-reverse movement not being sufficient to move completely through another ship, I caused all of my ships to collide and not move every other turn, taking 1-forward moves on the alternating turns. I gave up a lot of actions to do it, but it just made sense.
The durability of the fleet really showed itself here. By sheer luck, because I hadn’t been positioning it well, my opponent picked the Tal’Kir as his first target as our fleets engaged. Glance back up at the photo above, and you’ll see it at the top of the photo, still alive at the end of the game. The Tal’Kir has a neat little ability that says you can take an auxiliary power token to get an extra evade result each time you defend. So with two evade dice (thanks to Terrell), a timely Battlestations token spent on defense, and a stack of evade tokens, the Tal’Kir survived the opening round with somewhere around 3 hull points to spare. I put heavy damage on one Valdore, and scratched the other slightly, but didn’t clear anything from the table.
The next turn, knowing that it wouldn’t survive another round of shooting, I launched the Tal’kir right into the heart of the enemy fleet. It took damage from the mines, but survived with one hull point, and caused collisions and lost actions for both the Drone and the Scimitar. With this unexpected movement, half of the enemy fleet unable was unable to fire upon the Tal’Kir, and their shots went to my flagship, the Ni’Var, instead. With three out of four ships firing on it, the Ni’var’s three evade dice and Battlestations token had been overwhelmed, and the ship had taken a total of eight damage, holding on by a thread thanks to the durability boosts from the Flagship and Combat Vessel Variant. Now my opponent had a hard decision… the Drone would almost certainly be able to finish either the Ni’Var or the Tal’Kir, but the other would live through the turn. He selected the Ni’Var to destroy, and thus the Tal’Kir survived to break through the enemy lines and limp away from the fight.
Even with one ship in full retreat, and one ship and its’ aura bonus destroyed, I’ve still got 5 ships throwing lots of dice left at that point, and I put them to work, knocking out a Valdore and the drone ship just as time expired. A clever use of the counter-attack die resource took down another of my ships with those last attacks, but the battle was decided, as the Drone was worth more than either of the two ships that I had lost, and Gul Dukat’s Valdore was more than both combined.
Finishing 3-0 in a 8 (technically 9 with a player who had to drop) person event left me as the only undefeated player, yet I received a 2nd place finish by way of scoring less fleet points throughout the day than my 3rd round opponent. Sometimes, in scenario games, I suppose that might make sense, but I can’t say that it doesn’t irk me to “win” and be told that I didn’t “win enough”. By a similar token, though, I’ve been handed victories in events where I’ve gone 2-1 and that same player scored 3-0, but with less points, so I can’t say it wasn’t fair. What I can say is that I dislike the system. It’s extremely counter-intuitive, and hinges on unclear wording in the OP materials provided by Wizkids for events.
It was interesting to see what players are doing with ships that I don’t have (and won’t have), as the last thing I purchased was a Borg Scout Cube for a specific build last month, I don’t plan on buying anything more. With Star Wars: Armada approaching on the horizon, and the new Scum and Villainy faction releasing this week for Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures, I feel as though my time in the competitive ranks for Attack Wing is drawing to a close. I’ll still play casually at times, and I might enter in to the occasional Organized Play scenario just to see how it plays out, but the grind of event after event, and the constant flow of new ships and questionable rulings just doesn’t fit into my schedule as a priority anymore.