Friday, 19 January 2018

State of the Meta Pt 2 - Imperial Squadrons

State of the Meta Pt 2 - Imperial Squadrons

Continuing with our look at things with wave 7 fresh off the boat let's have a look at Imperial squadrons. As always take these as just my personal ramblings and gain what use you can from them.  

Tie Fighters – These guys are an interesting bunch, to me the Aces are all just degrees of awesome. More so since the release of Sloan and the sudden improvement of blue dice swarm squadrons. That said I don’t rate the generics at all, I’ve seen lots of people trying giant hordes of generic ties but between the difficulties in activating all of them and the ease at which they get picked off by enemy squads and flak they just aren’t worth the investment to me. The Aces will be a major part of my sample Sloan ball later so check that one out.

Tie Advanced – Similar to ties there is a big gap in value between the generics and the Aces. Darth and Zertik are both great options in basically any build, Dengar can be great to get more value out of Darth while Zertik needs to be surrounded by squadrons who are happy to take a hit, bombers yes, 3 hull squads no. It’s also heaps of fun to combine Zertik with Bossk just to power him up. Tempest is also an interesting one, a cheap functional upgrade but not one I personally use much.

Tie Interceptors – As with the Tie Fighters I’m not a fan of the generics. No doubt they make for an amazing alpha strike but a canny opponent won’t be leaving their squads just hanging in the wind when you are clearly indicating that’s your intention. More importantly, even if you do pull off a good early hit it needs to be amazing since those interceptors will be going down quickly to even a whiff of flak or enemy response. With more ship upgrades in Wave 7 specifically targeting counter squads their value only drops. That said some of the specials are amazing, Soontir used to be king of the table and despite falling from grace in recent waves is still pretty good. Ciena Ree is a fantastic balance of offence and defence, played properly she can be a real pain for your opponents. Saber squadron is basically an auto-include in my books, so much hitting power in such a cheap package. 

Tie Bombers – Personally not a huge fan, ships seem to be getting deadlier and deadlier so I just struggle to see the value of slow attrition damage from bombers. With the nerf to Rhymer it just seems like a poor risk/reward ratio whether its generics or aces.

YV-666 – Bossk is one of my favourite squadrons if I’m not running a Sloane build. Once he has taken a hit and his free accuracy kicks in he’s about the best thing going to smacking down scatter aces. By contrast, the generics to me are next to useless, their dice are great but paying all those points for rogue on a squadron that slow just isn’t good on the table.
Aggressor Assault Fighters – If you’ve been playing for a while you’d remember when rebel 
YT-2400s were the king of the table, these guys were always their lightweight cousins and have fallen in popularity at the same rate as every other rogue squad. Though IG’s ability does have some slight novelty there are just better ways to achieve the goal.

Firesprays – Much as with bombers there was a time when these were fantastic on the table but these days their damage output for points just isn’t a great ratio. Since the release of flotillas and relay, there are just so many easy squadron activation options, it's hard to justify the rogue price premium.

Jumpmaster – Intel is certainly a useful ability to have and Dengar’s bonus counter is a great little boon well worth the point upgrade. Essential for a Sloan ace combo in my opinion, option in many other cases but always worth considering in one form or another.

Decimator – I’ve done a little bit of experimenting with Decimators and been on the receiving end a few times but in the post CC meta they just cut it for the points.

Lamba Shuttle – Easily one of the most essential additions to almost any squadron build. Both versions are amazing and I’m sure that Jendon would be one of the most common squadrons on any table. Downgrading to the generic is only really worth it if you have plans based around strategic.

Defender – Both versions are good in my mind but Marek is easily the best squadron anywhere right now. Everything he has is pure gold and his points efficiency is unbelievable. Generic defenders are ok for their points but their biggest abilities are speed and flexibility, you end up paying a premium for that flexibility so you had want a build which is going to maximise on that. Personally I think a scatter ace teamed with a bomber will give you better efficiency than trying to put both abilities onto one squad.

Phantom – I’ve toyed around with them and seen a few players attempt interesting things but their gimmick just doesn’t add up to real points efficiency. Neither version will be appearing in my lists anytime soon.

Mandalorian Gauntlet – Still pretty new so time will tell. I said from the initial reveal that their value/use will be determined by the impact of Raid tokens. Given that we now know they will be pretty easy to get rid of I doubt we will see a huge amount of these getting around. The unique upgrade might be worth the points but with all the squads over 20 points it will need to do a heap to justify that inclusion.

Sample squad build - Just a few ideas for when you want to spend the full 134 points... 

Motti's General purpose Killball - Colonel Jenden, Maarek Stele, Valen Rudor, Ciena Ree, Dengar, Saber squadron, Zertik Strom, Maulet Mithil. 

This one has heaps of flexibility, it can slaughter most enemy squadron builds if you fly it carefully and has enough anti-ship options either in the black dice squads or just good ol Maarek that it can support your ships. Sloane build. There are definitely more resilient squad builds out there if you want that and more bomber heavy options as well, this one is more of an all-rounder. Watch out for alpha strikes which can take you apart damn quickly. 

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