Saturday, 25 May 2013

X-Wing: Firesprays; double the fun, double the Heavy Laser Cannons

So a lot of people in my local meta are playing the YT-1300; or for non SW-nerds, the Millennium Falcon. In fact the local regionals pretty much consisted of almost nothing but the MF and some X-wings/Y-wing lists.

However, I feel there's a lack of love for the Firespray; otherwise known as the Slave-1; AKA Boba/Jango Fett's ship. Sure, it doesn't have the 360 arc that the MF has. It doesn't have useful abilities like Han Solo/Lando/Chewbacca has, because seriously, the ability to bank the other way is kinda crappy compared to 'reroll dice for free'

What it does have though are Heavy Laser Cannons, mines and ion cannons. Granted, the ion cannons aren't 360deg LOS like Y-wings have but they are range 1-3. However, what I was really interested in are the Heavy Laser Cannons. 

What's so good about the Heavy Laser cannons? First, let's take a look at what they do. They attack from RNG 2-3 and have 4 attack dice. However, they turn all critical hits to normal hits. And they're pretty expensive at 7 points each. But let's take a look at the closest competitor

Unlike other missiles/torpedoes, Homing Missiles doesn't require you to spend your target lock to use it. Which means you can re-roll your misses as well. Like the HLC, it's 4 attack dice and range 2-3 and comes in cheaper at 5 points. Also, it prevents people from spending evade tokens during the attack; always good against TIE fighters/interceptors. However, it's also a one-use weapon. 

Then there's also Expose, which would bump your attack value up to 4 but drop your defense value down by 1 to 1. However, this requires an action to use, which means no continuous target locking but this works for both your front and auxiliary firing arc. 

So for 2 points more, you get a multiple use weapon, that you can also use with target lock and focus, but with which the person can spend evade tokens to evade. On average, you're likely to hit with 50% of your attacks normally since the dice has 4 hit symbols on it. The opponent; assuming tie fighter, is likely to evade at 3/8 of the time, meaning 1.125 times. This combined with an evade means he's likely to dodge the hits. However, this doesn't take into the fact that there are mechanics in the game that allow you to reroll missed attack dice but not reroll failed defense dice. Plus there's the fact that you can re-use HLC as many times as you want, unless you all happen to fly straight at each other and just stay at range 1 all the time. So in this case, HLC beats out homing missiles slightly for the firespray. 

What about for Expose? Well, it can increase your primary attack value up to 4 for range 2-3 and 5 for range 1. It works for both the front and back arc, which is good. However, unlike secondary weapons, when defending against a primary weapon at range 3, you get an extra defense dice. That means, a TIEs defense value goes up to 4. That means a dodge rate of 1.5 or 2.5 with evade. Since this is an action, it means you won't have the chance to focus or target lock either. Furthermore, it lowers your defense value, leaving you at the same paltry defense level as a millennium falcon. So overall, I'd say expose is just too risky compared to the HLC.

With all that in mind, I decided to test out a dual Firespray/HLC build. This left me at 80 points out of a 100 point list and I decided to round it out with a  Black Squadron TIE fighter with squad leader and 1 proximity mine. My plan was simple, the firesprays would advance/target lock/focus and the black squadron would hang behind and continuously give them extra actions with the squad leader upgrade. 

First game, my 2 firesprays 1 shotted a y-wing in 1 turn. It went from full health to 0 after I was done with it. Granted, I had TLed it with both firesprays and I had 1 focus from squad leader. Then they destroyed the other y-wing while taking heavy fire from Han Solo but eventually I managed to win. Note to self: do NOT get close to the MF. Preferably, I should just kite him from far. Didn't manage to use my mine this game because the firespray it was on died before it was in position to use it. 
2nd game. My opponent stuck with his 2 y-wing with ion cannon list and Han Solo. I swapped out the Black Squadron pilot for an Academy pilot to take 2 mines. This was a slightly closer game but it ended abruptly when my opponent ran one of his y-wings off the field. It was only slightly damage. At which point, my firesprays were able to team up on the MF. He did manage to continually jam his MF into my FS so that I couldn't shoot him with one, which basically halved my firepower. That was a good play on his part. Also, nearly dying to your own mine isn't really an experience I want to go through again...

So end result, I'm probably going to keep the Black Squadron pilot with squad leader and spend the remaining 4 points on 2 Merc copilots instead. The list can be found here